Editing: Changing Things Up

Happy Sunday, Everyone! I hope you’re enjoying the weekend!

Last month, I finished the first draft of my new novel. I like to give it about a month to put some distance between myself and the story, so I can come back to it with fresh eyes.

But I didn’t want to be sitting, doing nothing for a month. Ok, I did, but I wasn’t going to do that.

I took a look at a short story that I hadn’t sent anywhere, that I’d finished, prior to writing my first novel, and made that my November project.

The first thing I did was a major overhaul. It was almost a complete rewrite. That wasn’t the new part.

After I had printed the story out (Not new) and prepared to read the entire thing out loud (Still not new), I had an idea.

Usually, while I’m reading, I’ll sit there with a pen and mark the hell out of the manuscript, adding changes in the margins, etc. making a mess of the whole thing.

This time, I had the idea to mark down a spot that needed changing, and then, in a separate notebook, jotting down the change that I’d want to make. It would look something like this:

Pg 1 – 1: This happens in reverse order.

This had, I figured, two benefits:

The first was that of organization. Instead of looking for edit # 1203 somewhere in the neighborhood of page 484, I could look in my notebook, find the 484 page, and find the corresponding edit “Line”

The second had to do with my habit of making a change, deciding that it wasn’t the *Exact* kind of change that I wanted, and editing the edit. This can turn into an utter mess when you’re writing in the margins. Seriously, I’ve been there. There were ARROWS.

Using this method, I had pages and pages of unused notebook to edit my edits to my little heart’s content.

Naturally, I went a little overboard.

As I read the work aloud, I’d stop and make notations, and jot down changes for EVERYTHING – no matter how small. It was so bone-jarringly slow, adding “Lines” where my edit was “Add an S,” instead of just marking down an “S” on the page and moving on.

It was difficult doing this for a 6000 word short story, I couldn’t imagine doing it for an entire novel.

So I’m not going to.

My approach this time will be a hybrid method (if such a thing can be said of some poor fool building the boat while it’s in the water…) where, if I run into something that is a really minor thing, I’m going to just mark it on the page and move on.

Larger items will get their own notations.

I kick off the novel edit on December First. I’d love to have it ready to go out to Beta Readers by January 1st. We’ll see how it goes.

 

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Weird Wild West
Trials
Chasing the Light

I’ll see you again for the next Five-Thing Thursday!

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