Editing



  • So just out of curiosity, I was wondering if anyone edited their writing while they are writing? I know I don't because If I do I will lose my train of thought. Well I am trying not to but if I type to fast I spell EVERYTHING wrong and those little red lines drive me NUTS.

    If you don't edit while you write do you guys edit after you are finished writing the whole thing or do you have specific times to edit?

    Wow does that question even make sense. Sorry Its black Friday and I had to work last night and early this morning so I am a little out of it.



  • I'm now working on my first full length novel. I writing without editing because otherwise I stay on the first chapter forever. I'm going to edit my text when I have finished the novel i think but I have never done an edit before. I will just be happy if I finish this text since I have a hard time writing longer texts.

    How have you planned to edit?


  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    Very good question @maemeowza - I think that M. R. Mathias said it best in our interview with him (you can see it here) - But he said:

    “Your creative side loses its flow when you stop to add that comma.”

    Basically writing is a right brain function. Reviewing, editing, is a left brain logical process. The two can conflict horribly. At least that's what I got from him. There is a lot more advice in there, so give it a read :)

    As for how I do my editing.

    I have three different methods depending on what TYPE of editing I am doing.

    Personal Spot Checks: I cannot STAND that red squiggly line. I really want it to be like pink, or blue or something, but yeah that can totally distract me while writing. So what I do instead is the following: write out whatever is in my head for that scene. I type at something like 80-90 words a minute, and sometimes even more depending on how in the groove I am. I do not have to look the the keys, and if I do, it's amazing how much that slows me down. Anyway, as I work on the scene if I see a squiggly I don't worry about it until I finish the paragraph. I then let right click spell check handle the issue. I then move on. I do not put time or effort into trying to figure out the right way to use an em-dash, semicolon, or quote. I just do the spot check paragraph by paragraph.

    Draft Edit: This is where I read my work out loud to someone else. Yes, I can reach out to others and ask them to just review and edit my work, but I want to read my own work out-loud to someone who is following the text. You'd be amazed at how different dialogue is when you do that. I've changed words into conjunctions because the emotional impact of that character at that moment said don't instead of do not. I've also found that it's easier to feel the flow.

    Last Edit: At this moment in time I am content editing two pieces by two different authors. Content editing is where I have already read the draft (at least once), so I know the story, I know the direction and I really understand the flow of an author's work. I then sit with the author and read it out loud to them point out the amazing uses of subtle foreshadowing, or that awesome idea that better show up in the next book or I'll kill the author. I can also point out that they spent 10 paragraphs describing something that has little to no point in that particular book as it may not have been referenced again in the story. Simply put that type of collaborative content editing allows for on the spot feedback and fixes.

    I have about 7 or 8 other methods depending on the circumstance. The one thing I will say though, is do NOT edit alone. M. R. Mathias said pays someone else to edit his work once he's ready. Me? I want to be hands on. I love reading, and I want nothing more than to empower an author to grow, and see their good through those "man i suck" days. So I want that same kind of experience when I am the author of the work.

    @serwaa longer text are easy for me! Short is like asking me to strip naked in front of congress or something. Total vulnerability, so I have mad respect for the fact that you're trying something outside your comfort zone. If I can be of any help (suggestions, cheering, marshmallow filled hot chocolate) let us know!



  • @Josey Reading your text out loud to someone sounds like a really good idea. I'm going to try it when I finish the story I'm working on now.

    Thank you for the encouragement! I would love suggestions, even though I'm not sure how it works :)


  • Plotist Team: Community Storyteller

    @serwaa It depends on what you're after or trying to do really. :) Well, you can always start a threat here on the forums and we can talk about plot, direction, characters and get everyone to give suggestions, feedback, direction! Or if you would prefer, feel free to hit me up in a private message here on the forums.



  • Pretty much I do it like @Josey, I think. (Well, the Personal Spot Checks. I've actually never read any of my stories aloud, despite the sea of people saying to do so :/ ) Over the years, I've gotten really good at shutting down my inner-editor in order to get something on the page. If I'm scrolling back through something and I see a sentence or grammatical error that just really bugs me, then I'll stop to change it, but I can even get myself to ignore that until I'm ready for editing.

    On the other hand, some writers are very careful about how they write each sentence, at the time that they write them. It may take them longer to work, but hey, less editing, right?

    Basically, do what works for you. It'll be a bit of trial and error, but eventually you'll be able to figure out what works for you and be able to get in the groove :)

    @serwaa I've always had a hard time writing short texts, ironically. Ideas for me always just expand so quickly and next thing I know I've got a handful of characters and the seeds for an epic >.> It's always scary to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, though, so I will offer all the encouragement and ice cream you need to help stay with your project! ^_^



  • Editing drives me crazy, I wish I was perfect so I didn't had to.
    Editing is hard when you know the story too well. When you start something, you know where your mistakes are, where you should change stuff or add things. But when you are familiarized with the story, you just don't notice where you are missing something.
    I start editing after I have wrote the "first" part of the text, or I go chapter by chapter, or paragraph by paragraph, depending on the length.
    But what I like to do better, is to give the draft to a friend. He checks the orthography, the syntax, etc. Since he is not related with the text, he'll be able to find error easily.
    That works for me when it comes to editing.


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