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.



Be sure to stop by the Freebies page for story Excerpts.

If you’ve read, and enjoyed any of my books, please consider leaving a review:

Weird Wild West
Chasing the Light

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