Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Edits: A love and hate relationship

This week I’m working on editing a novel I thought was finished. Thought.
I was wrong. After talking with crit partners about several problem areas, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to cut at least 20,000 words and do a pretty extensive rewrite.

So much for being finished.

I’ve spent the past couple of days re-writing an entirely new plot and chapter outline and am now ready to dive into edits. Admittedly, I’m nervous about cutting 20,000 words that I thought only weeks, were pretty good. I know that the final product will be much improved. With that in mind, I’m diving ahead knowing that I’ve done it before and can do it again.
When editing keep in mind the following:

1 – The delete button is not your enemy – It may seem this way, but in reality it’s not. Hacking away mercilessly at once treasured words and phrases, but after a second look are really cliché or overused. Cutting scenes that seemed great when first written, but are now drivel. This is the tool that makes for great writing. Think of it as tightening up your script, as they do in film. For things I just can’t bear to cut I put them in a separate document to possibly be used later. For this huge edit, I’ve saved an original copy of the full novel before editing, so it’s all there if I ever need it.
2 – Talk over major plot changes – While I was mulling over the changes that needed to be made, I chatted with one of my crit partners and explained what I thought was lacking. Together we brainstormed and came up with an amazing idea, which will make the novel much better. When I bounce ideas off someone else, I’m always able to come up with something better. My crit partners are amazing!

3 – Print off a hard copy – Often, when I read my novel as a hard copy, I gain a whole new perspective on the work. Seeing the work on paper, instead of on a computer screen, helps pinpoint areas I might have missed and I can jot down ideas in the margin as I go.
Edits are not always fun. In fact, cutting and rewriting can be downright painful. Yet the final product is always worth the effort and without a well-edited manuscript, it’s unlikely the novel will attract agent and editor interest.

Wish me luck this week as I delve into edits and remake my novel into what I hope will be something better than it was originally.
Happy Writing and Editing,

Your Turn – Do you enjoy edits? Any tips you can share that makes the process easier? I look forward to your comments!


Laura Elizabeth said...

I don't really like to edit very much, but I used to dislike it even more. I have two crit partners that I give most of my work to, and they are really, extremely helpful. They make it actually fun to rewrite and reword when I'm working with them :D But I much prefer critiqueing other people's work, because then they have to do the editing. Mwhahaha :D

Amanda said...

Oh Laura, I know just what you mean! Critiquing other writers work is soo much more fun than critiquing my own. And then they have to do the work. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by!!

Jill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jill said...

I just came across your blog :)

I have found that editing isn't quite so bad once you've started it...sometimes it's even kind of fun! Thanks for the post!