Thursday, September 13, 2012

Editing = UGH

Those of you who follow me on Twitter & Facebook will notice something … I like to complain about editing. It is by far my least favorite part of creating a story. The necessary evil IMO. And I don’t ‘go’ this part alone. Oh no. I’m involved in a critique group over at Scribophile, a workshop for serious-minded writers.
I’ve gotten tons of feedback over the past year and not just grammar related. Plot holes, believability – you name it.
What do I use besides my forum? A biggie list.

Once a WiP is all on paper or in the computer I read for content. This is where I take into consideration all those plot holes or questions forum friends & beta readers bring to attention. I also address three other major items:

#1 Plot. Is it believable? Interesting? Are all my i’s dotted? T’s crossed? It must make sense and have an arc.
#2 Tension. Are there primal stakes every reader can relate to – facing death, fear, hunger, etc? Is the conflict (inner & outward) clear? Granted there will be down times. We all need to breathe and take a potty break. BUT a well-written story will keep those pages turning & e-readers clicking.
#3 Pacing. Is every scene essential to the plot? Does it drive the plot forward? If not then slash it. It’s fluff.  
After these three are mostly ironed out I go onto the finishing touches:
#1 Grammar. Spell check is always first. You’d think ‘well duh!’ but it’s amazing to me how many e-books I’ve come across with misspelled words. Sloppy & sad.
#2 Over used, repeated words. Ever get lazy & use the same verb over & over? Take ‘walk’ for example. How ‘bout spicing up the visual with a different word to convey how they walk? Amble. Hobble. Dart. Sprint. They create much better pictures in your brain, don’t they?
#3 ‘And then’ eliminations. Other than being ‘telly’ they’re boring and create no visuals whatsoever.
#4 Cliches. Gotta be original. Bring something new – something fresh – to entice readers and capture their imaginations.
#5 Vary sentence starts. It’s not pleasing to the eye or mind if every other paragraph starts with the MC’s name followed by a map-out of what they’re doing or have done.
#6 Correct word usage. There, their, they’re. To, too, two. I’m sure you get my drift!

Quite the daunting task isn’t it? Thank God for sites like Scribo & Writer’s Digest for helping with the vast majority of the first checklist.
The finishing is TONS easier when using AutoCrit or Pro Writing Aid. Never heard of them? Check those sites out. You can thank me later.
I know I need to stop complaining about editing. For me it’s just another twenty seconds of procrastination.

How ‘bout you? Have any tried & proven ways? Helpful websites?


  1. Great post!

    Editing is a love/hate thing with me. I enjoy reading through the story at (nearly) normal speed, but when it comes to making major changes or killing off particularly beloved darlings, I pout. That said, once I warm up to the changes, I usually like it better. It's just my nature to resist in the beginning (read: dig my heels in and stomp and scream. LOL).

    Thanks for visiting my blog. :)

    1. I hear ya on the stomp & scream!!!

      And thank YOU for visiting. :)

  2. I don't mind editing, but if I do too huge of a chunk of it at once, then I get bored way too fast. I need to break it up.

    1. I've been breaking up my WiP edits since LAST Jan.!!! How sad is that???

  3. I'm one of those odd ducks who enjoy editing. At least the first four or five times through the manuscript. I've been writing in Scrivener and then outputting in mobi format to edit on my iPad. It's been fairly enjoyable as I can haul my manuscript around wherever I go.

    1. Now see, Everett, if I was a little more computer savey perhaps I'd enjoy it too. Need to nab one of those iPads. Been hearing some great things ....