Monday, November 11, 2013

Process Again...This Time Editing

The past two weeks, we've talked about process. Not How-to-Do-Things, but figuring out the process YOU use to start a book, draft a book, and now edit a book.

Why? Because once you get a process, the real one that works for the type of brain you have and your habit style (which I think is a term I just made up LOL!) then you will either get more work done...or the work you get done will be of a better quality. Either way it's a win.

So today we close out this three-blog series with editing styles.

I edit every morning. Yep. Every day I go over what I wrote the day before because with my "fresh" brain, I see things I had missed when I was drafting. Especially descriptions. When we draft we're so focused on story that we sometimes skimp on descriptions. I get them in the next day. And that usually accounts for my first two pages of the day. LOL

I also edit every Monday morning. Every Monday morning I start on page one and read everything I have, changing sentences, beefing up descriptions, fixing typos. But I also see the flow of the entire story so far. That helps me to make sure everything is going in the direction that I want, that my tone is consistent, that my character arcs are working...and not going wonky on me.

Others like to do an entire draft before they edit. I love that system (and admire anyone using it) for one very good reason. Everything about your story is set. You will not find yourself spending two days editing a scene, page or paragraph that ultimately gets cut because your story changes drastically. Nope. If you've drafted correctly, you now know your story. So there'll be no days or weeks of perfecting things that get cut.

Making that a time-saver system. LOL

Others edit in chunks. They write the first 100 pages and edit them. Then write the second hundred pages and edit.

That system is kind of like mine. In a way, I can't go too far ahead unless I know what I've already done is pretty good...or at least working. I'm sure the chunk editors among us feel the same way. LOL

At one time, I would draft a book, edit the story (make sure the arcs and raised stakes worked), then edit the scenes (making each scene properly dramatize the journey step it illustrated) and then edit the words...sentences, words, grammar...  Because we write on three levels. Story. Scene. Word. It takes a different kind of talent and a different skill set for each one of those phases. So if you work on one phase at a time, it's easier to focus. Time management experts call this task batching.

The three-phase approach (story, scene and word editing) is another system that works very well.

But notice the organization in all of these systems. My friends and I don't just wake up one day and say, "It's editing day!" We have systems. Habits that clue our brains in on what we're doing so that they wake up and go in the direction in which we need them to go.

So editing is another process. Another thing you should be making notes on as you try to figure out your entire "how I write a book" that you can use it again and again and again so that you form habits that serve you.

Because that's really the bottom line to high quality/high productivity. Either being incredibly talented...or finding the systems that work for you.

Happy Reading

susan meier

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