how to edit

I once read something that basically said this is how you edit. You do step a, then step b, then step c, then step d, then step e.  That is the  most advisable way to edit. (I’d post it if I still had it.)

I thought that was a good idea and I would follow that. More or less did step A, which is where I read it through and changed all of the wrongness with characters. (I’m not the best about knowing how my characters behave at the beginning of the book.)

Then, I moved on and started to see about doing step b, except, whatever step b was I a) didn’t know fully how to know for certain I did it completely right and b) thought I already did it.

After that, I’ve come to the conclusion that everyone edits different. This was later proven when i heard that one author only edits her book once, because anything more than that would bore her.

I more or less then to agree.

That all being said, this is how I edit, which pretty much works for me. I’ve won some writing contests with this theory and so I’ve seen it work.

1) write the whole story (although I might go back and reread sections, editing them slightly then, I pretty much do no editing while writing. On a side note, it makes for a lot to clean up and with myself not liking editing, it isn’t the best way to do it, but I also learned never to not write the next section if I know how it goes.)

2) read it through once on the computer. This is to handle any gross mistakes and make it flow a little better. This is where, if I don’t understand what I wrote, I fix it up, because now I know for certain what I want to say.

3) Print out the whole thing (this can be huge) and do a paper edit. Edit the story on paper. I first baulked at this fact because it uses so much paper and is is so big and costs money, but it’s really advisable. You just don’t pick up the same mistakes that you do on the computer.

4) Insert the paper edits onto the computer. This can be done either per section basis or all at once. In larger works, I do it per chapter because I might not remember what I meant.

5) Read it through again, either on paper or on computer. This is to make sure that you don’t forget things like periods or have extra sentences that you forgot to delete. (I don’t do this step on smaller works though, for some reason.)

6) I think this is when I’m done and it’s finished. Now just find a title.

I’m on step 5 with Shad and step 3 (paper edit) with Kontyo right now. Personally, I like writing it much better than editing but I learned that I need to have both if  I want anything decent to come out of it. Someone (a famous author, but who escapes me) said something along the lines of write fast and edit later. Also, editing is the key to good writing.

So, although I dislike doing it, I’m off to go edit more.

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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