Monday, September 12, 2005

The editing process

There's a number of different ways that I edit my writing, often depending on the intensity of the changes that need to be made.

It used to be that I did just about everything on hard-copy. The computer was just for convenience, spell-checking and printing multiple copies. Not so much anymore. If I have a chapter that I'm pretty happy with (or if time's short!) I'll often do an edit right in the Word document itself. This allows me to fuss with things quite fast (you get pretty quick on the keys when you type for 8+ hours a day) and making plenty of minor revisions in a short period of time.

The second option is good old print editing. This is generally best for me if the piece needs a bit of work, but has some sound bones to it. One thing about hand-writing is that it forces you to slow down. This is both its attraction and its drawback. There's more time to think, more vested effort in each word that I write on a page with a pen in hand. I consider more fully where I want to go before I commence. For this reason, all of the novels I've drafted (I'm on number five at present) have been written by hand. I do it in unlined sketch pads because I'm masochistic...

The last option for editing is something that I'm finding myself doing a lot more since I've gotten into the critique group. More often than I like, I'm confronted with the need to make major plot adjustments. In the past, I would likely have tried to salvage what I had, print it off and tinker with it trying to make it better. Whole-sale replacement, though, isn't always that bad of a choice anymore. It's actually easier in a lot of cases than trying to edit something into a shape that it just didn't match to begin with.

That's been the latest bit of work--I had a couple chapters that just needed some quick in-document editing, but then there's a stretch that needs to be done fresh. Open a blank document and have at it!

Word Delta: +840 words

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