Ready to Edit… now what…

I finished writing and editing a short story.  It was good exercise for editing, particularly since I was working on getting the total word count down below a fixed amount.

I did content editing first, making  sure that the story hung together and made sense.  I rewrote the ending to make it more exciting, deleted sections that really didn’t move the story forward, etc.

Then moved on to line editing.  Deleting all those pesky “had” or “has been” words that didn’t do anything useful other than increase my word count.  I do need to keep an eye on the language because of the steampunk style which should be a bit more flowery prose.

So all that was good practice.  But now looking at a whole novel to edit and I feel more than just a little intimidated.  I stalled it a little by updating synopsis and tagging the scenes, but I have run out of excuses and need to wade in.  I have no idea what to do that…

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4 comments on “Ready to Edit… now what…

  1. I write short stories, not novels, but I relate to what you are saying above. I think editing a novel could be similar to editing a short story in that the elements are common, even though they are applied to a different volume of text given the length of an average novel.

    A few years ago I helped a good friend edit a raw draft of his novel, and it was very tough work. Critical aspects like pacing need to flow from one chapter to the next while grammatical or spelling errors are self-contained and can be dealt with on a chapter by chapter basis.

    I think if you take it one chapter at a time, and try to see a chapter as a short-story-length-object, it might be helpful. Once you get through the immediate errors and problems that are self-contained you can go back to the beginning and ensure pacing and other holistic editing items are also taken care of…

    That’s my six cents!
    Carol

    • dwbeyer says:

      Carol,

      Thank you for your comments. Makes me feel a little less apprehensive about what I am up against. I also buy the short story approach.

      I wrote the original chapters as if they were short stories – each had three scenes and I tried to stick to the beginning, middle, end format. I rotated between the three POV characters based on an overall set of timelines I had created. Funny thing happened along the way though. My roughly 3,000 word chapters became 8,000 word scenes. I also completely strayed off my timelines, mostly because I got half way through and then wrote the ending (I would recommend that to anyone btw). I know there are things that are out of order so I am rebuilding the timelines with the updated synopsis. I think that will help with the sequencing, help me find the holes, and do a better job of integrating the “world” character. Yes, very systematic I know, but that’s the way I click.

  2. You could set up a reward system for yourself (or if you have a wife or really good friend who would help you do it). That way you have motivation (And prizes!) for every step or chapter you complete! Good luck.

    • dwbeyer says:

      Absolutely! I have also found that just completing something to be reward – I really pushed myself to complete the first draft at the end of August before Gen Con Indy. It was the prior year that I had decided to stop talking about writing and really start writing. I took a number of seminars and started on the first draft. NaNoWriMo was a good kick start and reward enough for winning. Having the first draft done, I was surprised how many real authors congratulated me on just getting that far! Now I think I am putting more pressure on myself because I want to get it out there. It feels like Steampunk genre is on the upswing and I think I have something unique to contribute. If no one else agrees, I will take satisfaction in having written something I would have liked to read.

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