Friday, February 6, 2009


Do you ever stop and ask yourself, “What the heck am I doing?”
I feel like I should be asking myself that. Instead I am forging ahead with my writing.

The first goal I set for myself, that I honestly tried to reach, was finishing my first novel. I made it with two days to spare. I gave myself a year to write it. Okay, 15 months. But I did it. And that was an awesome feeling. I keep plowing ahead because I want that feeling again. I want that sense of accomplishment. That is what keeps me going everyday. Except the days I don’t care and just crash on the sofa all day. Those don’t happen too often thankfully.

I was wondering, I know I only have 2 followers, but how do you edit? I printed out my finally finished novel and have been attacking it with my red pen. And then typing up fixes, finding more fixes while doing so. Is there a better way? Or is it just one of those whatever works for you deals?


  1. Hi!

    The best book on editing that I have ever found is "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" by Rennie Browne and Dave King.

    I belong to another nano site besides CoMo and WriMo. Visit it at . Go to Forum: Editing Tools: How do you edit? and read my post on editing there.

    EdMo starts March 1, so you have time to sign up. 50 hours of editing in one month. I did my entire 130,000 word WriMo 2007 novel last year. (I work about 22 hours a week, so I was able to do 104 hours.) Visit the forums to find helpful information.

    Happy editing and more writing!


  2. I also have Browne & King's book. It's a good one.

    I would do a run-through of your manuscript, editing as you go, marking things you want to come back and look at, changing the obvious flaws. Don't stress. This is doable. Use Track Changes and Comments if you have Word. Make notes and comments to yourself - note the things that stand out to you or bother you. You can come back on another read-through to change.

    Once you've made all the easy, obvious changes, set it aside. Think about the big things you marked. Let it simmer. Then go back and do another read-through. Make the changes you've decided on now. Mark new thoughts you have or needed changes that you hadn't seen before or were caused by the changes you've now made.

    You can make several passes at it, then you need to not look at it for a while -- however long you can hold out. Give it to your readers. I would save a reader or two so they will be "virgin" readers for after you've made more edits that your first line of readers give you (and which you agree with).

    Another method is to do read-throughs, each time looking for specific things and ignoring everything else. I find this method hard for me because I keep seeing things I feel should be changed, but they're not on the list of things to work on during this read-through. But each person works differently and that make work for you.

    Remember it's your book and you make the final decisions.

  3. Thanks Dave! I wrote down the book, definitely going to check it out this weekend. Your post is helpful. You always have such information packed posts, I love reading them. I'm considering EdMo. I haven't gotten as far as I'd like to be, so I think it would be a good push.

    Helen, thanks for the detailed comment. I keep rereading it, I tend to skim unintentionally on the computer :D
    I'm doing a run through now, marking things as I go. I'm considering starting to go back through chapters after I've finished them. I don't think I could go through it looking at one specific thing, I'd go crazy wanting to fix everything else. I'm thinking of switching to going chapter by chapter and be happy with them before continuing on. But I'm not sure. If I find something majorly oops with the plot I'd have to go back and fix it, or add it in earlier, etc.

    I want to get as much done/fixed on the first time through as possible. I don't want to have 6 revisions before I'm comfortable sharing any of it.
    Everyone is so helpful. Makes me smile. :)

  4. I find, for me, the best way to edit is to print out the book as you have done. I will take my time on each page and if there's a spot that doesn't flow well, I will read it outloud to see if it still sounds funny. I also try to have at least one other person I trust read it to give me their input. A lot of times they'll have question marks by the same parts I was unsure of. Sometime else that helps me, too, is to take a break from that particular manuscript. If I leave it for a few weeks or more, it's easier to be more objective when I return.
    Good luck with all the writing!

  5. My writers group is where I first heard this, and then it was repeated on NaNoWriMo. Holly Lisle, whose Website offers lots of free advice, also says it. Just write. Turn off your Inner Editor, and just write. Don't stop. What you want to do is get the story written and then go back and fix it.

    But elsewhere, Holly says she usually reviews the last thing she wrote in order to get her back into the right mood. She never said she did any significant editing, but she is able to see better if her story is still going the right direction.

    That's about what I've been doing since I entered WriMo the first time in 2006. Just writing. Often, I know exactly where I was when I left off and just forge ahead. If I reread too much, I start wanting to edit.

    It took me over four years to finish my first book--before WriMo. My first WriMo book passed 50,000 and over the year, I doubled its length, but didn't finish. I started editing and ran out of time because then I started my WriMo 2007 novel. It also passed 50K, and I finished it in mid-February. Because I didn't edit it until March when I entered EdMo.

    Editing after the novel is finished works for me. 3 1/2 months instead of not finished or over four years.

    My WriMo 2008 was over 50K, but I had to stop on it because life's details interrupted me. I will work on it once EdMo is over.