What does your personal editing process look like these days?! If that makes sense at all!

I just wanna know because I will be editing my anthology today when I get the printed papers of the first draft. Still, the whole editing process is going to be a cruel mistress to me due to my crapstatic writing skills. Anyway, I was wondering if you could tell me a bit of how you edit your stories. People do it differently and I just wanna know how you did it.

I know, I know I should wait a bit till I am ready to write more, but my lord I am too amped and excited.
I am itching to edit/revise/rewrite this beast of a story.

This is my first time in the editing stage yet I am both excited and intimidated.
What are your thoughts?

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I think the best first step is to read the whole thing as a reader. Don’t edit, just read. You can make notes on the side but don’t worry about spelling or pretty words at this stage. Your first read is to see the big picture. What story are you really telling because it might be different from what you thought you were writing.

After that, I’d recommend to write a synopsis of the story - plainly from memory. If you wrote a synopsis or outline before, don’t peek at those, let this be from scratch. You might discover very insightful information from that, things you didn’t notice before.

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Ah, I see.

So read it with the intention of getting a feel for it instead of editing as I read?

Thanks a bunch!

By the way, do you have an editing process that you personally do or no?

My process constantly evolves but right now it’s:

  1. First read through.
  2. Make notes on what might have to change, things I do and don’t like, any plot holes discovered or alternative paths I didn’t think of before.
  3. Write a synopsis/summary. This is essentially an outline but in prose - tell the big picture story (preferably under 1000 words but no one will penalize you for going over).
  4. Analyze the synopsis. Does it make sense? Repeat point 2.

From here, I make a decision. Does this story work? Do I love it or do I want it to be better = will need a rewrite.

If I don’t know, I have two options:

  • give it to someone else to read to see what they think about it, or
  • dive deep into analysis

I’m a very analytical person so I might do both anyway. :joy:

My analysis is pretty intense. I take the full story apart, separate all storylines, analyze each, full work up on every major character.

And then I also have the big spreadsheet where I put every scene and details about it.
But this step I’d do if I was feeling confident about the story. If after doing all the above analysis I determined that I need to do major rewrites, I’d wait with filling in the spreadsheet until the rewrite is complete.

The point of the spreadsheet is to see patterns and pacing.

It’s worth mentioning that I do all of that also before and while writing my story. Whenever I get stuck, I go back to analysis because there’s usually a good reason why I’m stuck.

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That is pretty cool.
Thanks for sharing your editing process.

I can test it out to see if that will be something to consider.

Thanks again.

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Ok, I know I was being vague earlier about what my whole analysis is and that’s because it is quite a lot of information.

Here’s an example sheet that I used to analyze movie Sixth Sense (spoiler alert).

For my own projects, I do something like this but actually even more. Yup, I wasn’t kidding when I said intense, but I also enjoy this process.

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I like how crazy and amazing that setup is.
This is something you do for all of your novels, correct?

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Pretty much anything long-form. I wouldn’t go into this detail on a short story.

The more complex the story is, the more analysis it would take.

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Alrighty then!

I can do some highlighting as I read though…right?
Some readers like to annotate their books.

Sure.

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Printed copies give me something to write on without changing the original. Just directly editing the thing on computer is real-time things that I won’t forget to go back to because they are already done. Both angles are needed for something serious.

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Ive been printing things off and reading them out loud. Im not very good at editing so this is really hard for me, but ive found the editing group that I made has helped teach me a ton and im getting better already. But a hard copy is crucial for me when it comes to editing. For some reason for me if its on google docs i think its good.

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Most the time I just feel like this: TAMAKI GIF | Gfycat

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I just read it on my computer and make edits as I find errors. Then I back it up again, set it aside until I’m ready to read it again, then do the same until I can read through the whole thing without finding any mistakes. It also helps at that point to read chapters out of order, or to read the whole thing starting from the last chapter back to the beginning. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯

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I print out a copy, then read through it myself & read all the feedback from the Wattpad that people left. I correct on the paper copy. I also fill in any gaps left by the lack of descriptions or action sequences that miss parts etc. Or any other confusing stuff.

Once I transferred the draft from the paper copy into digital format, I port it in word from google-doc so I can use texttospeech to go over some or all chapters one more time, listening to the story.

Due to length of the stories, it’s not always possible for me to listen to the whole story, but the first 10-20K words, for sure. I hope to be able to do full stories eventually.

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My editing style has evolved over the years.

These days it’s like this:
First, I do all the following at the same time.

  • Go through and fix the sequence of things (includes rewriting if necessary and will take priority)
  • Make sure characters are consistent (name changed, the character arc, acting how they are supposed to act, talking how they’re supposed to talk, etc.)
  • Add in missing descriptions or voice of narrator

Then I go through it again. Repeat until satisfied. After that, I go through and do the word search editing for all the narrating bits. I look for words like:
that
there was
it was
suddenly
smirk (my characters smirk way too much)
look (don’t need it. try not to use it, but sometimes it’s hard)
very
shrug
bit (I’ve been in this phase where I use “bit” like “a little bit”)
little
seemed
etc.

I just go through and search for those ambiguous or opinion-based words and change them. Opinion-based meaning like “it was big” instead of describing how it was big. Big can mean different things to different people. That’s why you show instead of tell for certain things. Show them how it was big so that they can be on the same page as you.

You can say “There was a cat”. That’s telling. That’s fine. But when you describe the size, you don’t say it was small. That’s subjective. You say it could fit in the palm of your hand or it was the size of a grain of rice, or something.

After that, depending on how serious I am about the story, I will print it out and be brutal with myself, covering the thing in red ink :stuck_out_tongue: This is a really new thing but when I did it for the first time, it really did help.

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I wish I had one…

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You will get one.

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And don’t stress over finding the perfect style. There is no perfect style which means, there is no wrong way to edit just as there is no wrong way to write a story.

Think of editing as putting the puzzle together, wiping away the mess, adding new touches to a painting masterpiece, or attaching new parts to a robot to make it do new things, or make the robot do old things better.

How you do that should feel most natural and comfortable to you.

That’s how I see it :wink:

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Hoping so.

Thank you kindly for this!