Editing or Revising The Work

Every writer seems to have their own method of revising/editing. Some revise as they write, redoing the chapter before they start fresh or going back to change something to relate to something new they wrote. Some dump out their first draft and then have various stages of revision that they go through. Others just kind of jump into revision blindly. And I know there are many more methods.

I fall into the second category. I prefer to write my first drafts fast. I've mentioned before if I don't know something I'll put a note in CAPS within the manuscript and keep going. Those are what I tackle in my first go thru which I try to do on the computer. Filling in the blanks is how I look at it. I also fix dialogue tags. Move and clarify description and action (description being my enemy). But the basics stay the same. The dialogue might be tweaked a little bit, picking a better word here and there, and pulling out back story character description dumps that were for my benefit (not the readers - gotta weave that in). Run the spell checker.

My third go thru I do on paper. I wish I could eliminate this one, but I can't. I am always catching obvious things on paper that I missed on my first round. Usually these are the wrong word types of mistakes that the spell checker didn't catch because it wasn't misspelled. This is also where I have to fix any plot holes that I've been struggling with or scenes that feel off to the story as a whole. Then off to my beta readers (this is a new thing for me).

In the past I've had multiple drafts, and multiple drafts can serve a purpose, but there's a danger in that. This danger being editing the life and heart out of your story. I've recently discovered as I was adapting a screenplay back into novel form that I'd done that to sections of the script. This script went through a tons of drafts (and I still found mistakes, word usage, etc. as I was switching it over) and through three screenwriting classes. I made many of my classmates suggested changes (the workshop approach) and now looking back, the flavor, the spunk, and the fun of so many scenes was gone. It's still a good story with good characters, but I was, I admit, a little heart broken to really analyze it as I switched it over. This little project is going to take me a lot longer than I originally thought.

But that's another story, back to my current rewrite. I just finished rewriting the first chapter of my Red Hot Fairy Tale and I'm happy with it. I was afraid that editing so soon after finishing the first draft was going to be a mistake, but being on a tight time crunch I don't get the luxury of it resting. I plan on doing at least a chapter a day to get it edited in time to send to my beta readers with still time to get it back and polished to send to the editor. As usual, I pulled out several info dumps, fixed some dialogue tags, and changed some telling to showing. Onto Chapter Two.

Comments

  1. Keep pluggin' away! This is a great post on the processes of editing/rewriting. Good job! I enjoyed reading about your style. And I agree that too much editing can be a bad thing

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Kristi. Tomorrow I'm gonna talk more about when doing a heavy revision/rewrite actually made a story better. It's such a fine line and I think really depends on the project itself.

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