Editing Tips and Tricks - or how to find out what works for you

I actually enjoy revising more than I do writing. It’s not that I don’t like writing (I wouldn’t be a writer if I hated it), but I find it daunting to look at an empty page or at my word count only to realize I still have more than half of the book to write. But when I’m editing, I don’t feel the pressure from before. I know I have what I need; now I just have to make it better. For me it’s a liberating feeling. Of course I know that many writers don’t feel the same way. So what can you do to make revising easier?

Once you’re done with your book, write a query, a one-sentence pitch and a synopsis. If you condense your book into a few sentences or pages, plot holes or inconsistencies often become apparent. I’m a strict plotter, so I do this before I even start writing the book but often things change while writing and so I have to write a new query/synopsis.
I know many of you hate synopses even more than revising, so this suggestion probably won’t be very popular, but I’ve found that it’s really helping.

Personally I don’t wait before I start revising. One good night of sleep and revision time begins. One reason for that is, of course, that I have deadlines as a published author, but that isn’t the main reason. I’m a fast drafter. That means I usually write my books in 4 – 8 weeks. That helps me focus on that book. Otherwise I get distracted or bored or annoyed, and then I turn my attention to another project. I don’t want that to happen. And once I’m done with my first draft and absolutely immersed in the world and characters I created, I don’t want to get out of that “zone”. And to be honest, I’m always so excited to start revising and to send my book to my agent and beta readers that I simply can’t wait.

I also don’t print out the finished manuscript and edit with a pen. I know people say it helps them to see their book with fresh eyes, but for me it feels like a limitation. When I’m editing in the word document, I can implement any changes I have in mind immediately. I don’t have to write them down by hand first and then type them into the word doc. That’s less work for me. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that not all the tips or rules you’ll hear about will be good for you. Figure out what works for you and what doesn’t. It's learning by doing. So write and revise, and write and revise, and so on.


Stina Lindenblatt said...

I used to print out my ms to edit. But like you, Susanne, I found it a waste of time (not to mention paper and ink). I found I edit better directly on the computer.

Cindy said...

Like you, I enjoy the revision process more than the initial writing.

Now if only I could crank out that first draft in 6-8 weeks like you...

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