Finding Advice/Ideas in Unexpected Places

Like most writers I know, I have my favorite list of blogs about writing. Writers in the Storm, for example, is one I frequent for tips and tricks and just to connect to the writerly world.

Today I was scrolling through Facebook and found a blog with a topic I'm getting close to needing: Editing.

The blog is directed at teens (Go Teen Writers), but they also cater to "new" writers as well. Though I'm hardly a teen, and I've been writing for over 20 years, I don't fall into either category. However, I am new to editing.

Though I have been writing for ages, I have yet to take a novel length manuscript to the next stage. I flush with embarrassment in admitting that. I've had short stories published, sure, but I have yet to take the next giant leap. I have several novel length manuscripts under my belt, sure, but all of them live in the land of first drafts.

Editing has always been this big, scary monster to me. Here's why:

  • A) I'm a pantser and, thus, my manuscripts tend to be unorganized (though, as I get older I've developed some techniques to keep track of things so they don't wander all over the place - namely the Running Outline).
  • B) As a pantser, I tend to discover the story while I write it. My main characters aren't fully fleshed out when I begin, so by the end, there is a lot of stuff to add in to flesh them out and to make them more real in the beginning. This seems like a daunting task.
  • C) Writing a first draft is my passion! It's new! It's exciting! It's fun (mostly)! Editing is fixing what was wrong with the passion.

I could list some more, but we might be here all day. Instead, I'll move on and say, for the first time in my life I am actually excited to go back and add in the nitty gritty parts and pieces to make things work better and to transform my cardboard cut-out characters into fully developed people I could have lunch with.

So, when I happened upon the blog about editing, I looked at it with "excited to edit" eyeballs and gleaned some great info.

The first post in the Editing Your Novel series on the blog is editing your novel in layers. The reason this resonated with me is because one of the first steps I take in editing is printing out a hard copy manuscript to read through and mark up. However, in this blog post, the author, Stephanie Morrill, sends her manuscript to her Kindle to read, that way she cannot mark it up while she does the first read through. She takes notes separately on what to change/add/etc, and what needs to be researched.

I thought this was brilliant, because when I read through my manuscript on paper or on screen, I tend to start editing right then and there. I believe a first read through as a reader is super important. It shows us what works, what's missing, where there are holes, where things were foreshadowed and never followed up on, where there needs to be more character development, and more more more!

So, that's the way I think I'll be starting my editing process.

First, though, I need to finish my first draft!

Peace and Keep Writing!

Claire L. Fishback

What tips and tricks have you found to be helpful in tackling the editing process?


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