Edit Away!

Today we’re talking about editing.

ready

So many writers edit in different ways. How complex does it get? We’re going in detail of what we do to edit.


Kelly:

Editing? Oh boy. This is totally an area where I am striving to improve! I truly hate rereading my MS and finding a glaring typo or a continuity error. But one of the great benefits of my current internship with Entangled Teen Senior Editor, Kate Brauning, is that she has been providing a lot of training on effective editing.

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With my current WIP, I have been pressing myself to finish without doing lots of heavy editing. When I’m finished, I plan to use the three pass editing system. In this system, the first pass is for major developmental edits and is used to assess things like story, pacing, character development, etc. The second pass ensures that the major changes have been made and starts to address line editing issues. The third pass is for detailed line edits.

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But I think it can be really hard to edit your own work. Critique partners and Beta readers are such an important part of the editing process. I am so lucky to belong to a great writing group and also to know writers like Tawney and Kristin that I can approach for feedback. I think it’s a great idea to try to find partners with different strengths. In our group, we have a writer really gifted at creating active sentences and strong clean paragraphs. We have someone who is so awesome at spotting and filling plot holes and we have a writer who is the best at crafting emotionally charged scenes and writing internal dialogue. One thing I have noticed is that the more editing I do of the work of others, the stronger I become at editing my own stuff. So forging partnerships, real give and take relationships, is of critical importance.

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Also, if you can afford the services of a professional editor, I completely recommend this. I hired an editor to read the MS that landed me an agent. While critique partners can be a huge resource, they can also be limited in the time and attention they can give to your MS, because they have their own lives and projects. A good editor will devote a significant chunk of time to your MS only. Most good editors will do a sample page edit of at least five pages to make sure the relationship is a good fit. If you’re hunting for an editor, definitely use one that will show you a sample before taking your money.

For me, I have about three weeks left on my current WIP and then I’ll be back in the editing trenches. Happy revising everyone!


Kristen:

Editing? You want me to talk about editing? Please excuse me while I go hide under my desk.

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Editing is the hardest part the writing process. By the time I’m done with my story, I don’t want to touch it. My eyes are blurred to the point where the words run together and I don’t see my mistakes. I’m blind!!!! In my mind I think it’s perfect, but of course, that’s not true. Nothing is perfect. We are human. There will be plenty of mistakes (Plenty of red marks from your editor that will make you sweat and second guess yourself).

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Once the story is over you must get feed-back. This is where critique partners come in. They’re the best resources you can have because they’re you’re fellow writers and booklovers. They won’t sugarcoat their opinions and will give you the best suggestions they have to offer. They are wonderful. I use several critique partners now. I love them and value their feedback. Another option you is a professional editor. Research your editors and find one that you feel will help your story grow and become the masterpiece you want it to be. I’ve had several professional editors- both good and bad experiences. You just have to find that perfect one.

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Lastly, learn to let your story go. You’ll have to make changes, delete sentences you thought were perfect, and sometimes eliminate a character but it’s best for the story. I cry every time I edit. It’s stressful but in the end, the story is like a caterpillar. It goes through this rough cycle but ends up becoming a beautiful butterfly. Be strong. Let your story grow. Then release it so it can fly off into a reader’s hands.


 

Tawney:

As most of you know, I don’t edit. That’s why I brought this topic up today. I just move on to a new story thinking that one will be “the one” I edit.

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Right now I’m editing my first MS! I’m starting off by going through the story to make sure the elements of the characters and the plot are there. It’s YA fantasy so I really think this will take a lot of edits to get through. I’m soaking in the advice that Kelly and Kristen have given. I’m glad to surround myself with wonderful writers who support me. I definitely think that having critique partners and beta readers is a necessity to enhance your story. They see things you will miss. It will be refreshing to get the edits back and see what I missed and how I could make my story better.

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I’m going to continue to edit and follow Kelly’s and Kristen’s advice. Sometimes I feel like I should quit on this story because it’s the worst of the worst. But the first draft always is! It may take many edits and drafts to get this YA to where I want it to be, but I’m going to dive in and take that chance that this MS is going to be great.

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I’m going to set aside some time and edit every day. I’m not going to move on to that sparkling idea that is tingling at the back of my mind. No. This has to stop. I’m going to edit away!

do it


How do you edit? What is your process? Tell us! We would love to know how you edit!

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