Tuesday, March 9, 2010
THE JOY OF EDITING
I admit it. I'm a little crazy about edits. No, not in a bad way. I don't cry and throw things when they come. I dance around the room with excitement. I know, I know. I should have my head examined. LOL But it's all a matter of attitude. For months I've been slaving on a new story all by myself. All of a sudden, I HAVE FEEDBACK! There is something invaluable about that. I find out if I managed to put in what I'd hoped. If not, I have some clear guidance on how to get there.
That's the biggest thing writers need to learn--your editor is after the exact same thing you are. You both want the very best for your story. Here's how I tackle an edit. This can work when you get a critique as well:
1. Read the good things the editor had to say. Allow yourself to savor those, all the while knowing the medicine is coming.
2. Now comes what didn’t work. Read through the entire list of things that need shoring up.
3. Dig in. Often after reading a revision letter, you feel overwhelmed with all that needs done. But ugly as it looks, it’s possible to do this work in much less time than you ever imagined.
4. Do the small stuff first. Things like grammar, eye color, etc.
5. Tackle plot issues. I get out 3 x 5 cards and jot down plot things that need woven in.
6. Layer in character changes. Using 3 x 5 cards again I jot down things that need shoring up so I can layer them in as I read through.
7. theme issues. Can I layer that in better or with more punch? I look for ways to do that. Ami McConnell is great at finding those things that will help in this area.
Then I do one more read through and look for inconsistencies. Love this process!
The end result is a book I like. And Lonestar Homecoming is now shipping to stores so see if I did a good job on those edits! :-)