Wednesday, September 8

How Do You Edit?

Okay, I know the simple answer to this question is yes. The real question (the harder question, I think) is how do you edit? I am really lucky to have a small group of critique partners who I trust to allow my work to keep my voice - only my better voice. I'm the first to admit that my rough drafts have good bones but aren't necessarily the best stories.

Why? Because in my head, I know what I mean but that meaning doesn't always make it on paper in the first draft. When I'm writing a rough draft, I'm very interested in getting the basics on paper and some of those small but crucial details don't make it. As La Nora says, we can't edit blank pages...and so I write on!Second drafts and final drafts? All of it comes together. (as least I hope so!!)

Lately, though, I've wondered if my editing process couldn't be streamlined a little. I do edit as I write. Every three chapters, I pause to edit .. .and send the 2nd draft to the CPs. Their input is weighed and measured and then the final draft is put together. Altogether, it takes about 4 months to have a completed draft that is ready. Not bad.

The problem? I don't actually know that I have a problem ... but most of the writers I know complete their 1st drafts before beginning the editing process. So ... how do you edit? Do you need a full draft before you can pick apart the problem areas? Or do you edit as you go?


  1. I edit as I go - quite literally. There isn't any going back at the end of the chapter and editing. If I write a line, it better resonate well, or I change it immediately!

  2. Thanks for stopping in, Christi! I edit as I go, but a little bit differently. I once tried to go an entire manuscript and then edit...soooooooo didn't work for me!

  3. I edit as I go, too. I then send the ms to you guys, then make those changes.

  4. i edit some as i go, but generally go back after 3 chapters and fine tune, then go forward again. sometimes new story lines pop up and have to be added in. one class i took, you wrote the entire book in 2 weeks, then edited for 2 weeks.
    hello carpal tunnel!

  5. I'm an edit as you go as well. I don't get those people who can write and not look back. I walked out of a workshop because of that very thing. When she said you have to write, finish, and put it away for a couple of weeks (preferebly months)she lost me.

  6. I edit as I go, too. I don't think I could face the full, unfixed thing at the end.