Monday, March 3, 2014

Revising/editing your writing

Of all the parts of the writing process, one I enjoy the most--aside from actually coming up with the idea in my head--is editing.  AKA revising.

Some writers have a love-hate relationship with editing.  Some--this would be mainly indie authors who try to rush onto the self-publishing scene with only a prayer and a dream--do not even edit at all.  No one, and I mean no one, should ever do this.  No one writes a perfect draft anytime.  I would even argue the fact that Mozart, who has long since been boosted upon a pedestal of artistic quality, did not edit.  I have one word for that.


I even read once that William Shakespeare didn't even edit or revise any of his work.  I find it hard to believe, unless these two artists had such high capacity minds that much of it was done ahead of time in their own heads.  But even this I find hard to believe.

There are a few ways you can edit.  Some may read a piece and with each pass, they're looking for something different.  Maybe it's a content edit on one pass, punctuation the next, and so on.  Thanks to John Gardner, this is how I do it: I take a block of 3-5 chapters and read them on the computer.  Then, I print those pages and make changes.  This usually involves at least two printings before I feel it's right.  Then, I move on towards the end.  (I wrote a blog post on this almost two years ago, where I describe it more in detail. Feel free to give it another read.)

This way has been tedious for me, but it's much better than what I used to.  I have one novel I'm about a third of the way through with edits, and I just want to get it done.

Hence the reason I'm exploring various revision options.

Some authors I know take 4-5 passes (or more) through a book.  I want to try this once, to see if it would work so I can view the story as a whole more than the individual pieces.  Depending on how long the novel is, there could be two to four months between when I started on chapter one and when I got to THE END.

I will keep you posted.

What is your revision process like?  Any tips you can share with the blog readers, would be greatly appreciated?

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