Right Post at the Wrong Time

So. The other day a friend, in a somewhat panic, asked how to edit.

Talking about editing right before NaNoWriMo may not be the best idea. Oh well.

Anyway. So how do you edit? I’ve only edited one novel before… and that is really the extent of my edits. I’m not a pro at this. And editing… I haven’t figured out quite yet how to make it pain free.

But my friend needed help. So explaining that I’m not the best person to ask would not have been particularly helpful. But I have picked up several bits of advice about editing.

First thing you must do to edit is make sure you have space between first draft and the edit. The generally advised time period is 6 weeks. This gives you time to distance yourself from “your baby”. It helps you better pick out flaws you would otherwise miss.

Step 2. Read through your book and make a list as you read. Your list will have two columns– Macro-edit and Micro-edit. Write those things down as you notice them. The difference between the two is simple.

Macro-edits are things that effect the story. Micro-edits are how the story is told.

If you are getting overwhelmed at any point, stop, take a breath, eat some chocolate. Basically, calm yourself down.

So. Now that you have your list compiled and you are cringing at everything you’ve written, it’s time for the third step.

Tackle the list. Start with the Macro-edits (because there is no point in decorating the living room of a house that’s about to fall in). Choose an item on your macro-edit list, decide how to fix it and then proceed to do so.

Three steps for editing. Who knew it could be so simple? And at the same time, it’s so difficult.

Editing often is less than fun, so the desire to procrastinate is strong. And the desire to run out the door, run down the road, screaming and pulling your hair out. And the desire to put your head on your desk and sob quietly. Whatever your problem is, there is one thing you should try to remember.

It’s okay.

Also, don’t think of editing as needing to fix. Think of editing as a chance to perfect.



Snoopy Editing


Of course, there are plenty of other ways to edit. I didn’t even cover beta-readers in this post. Any other tips for editing? Let me know in the comments!

Things to do! Writing and whatnot. DFTBA!

7 thoughts on “Right Post at the Wrong Time

  1. Having edited multiple books in my career, one of the biggest tools I’ve found is my kindle. I send the document to it, and then use the notes feature to mark it up. It’s a lot cheaper than printing out the whole document, but still forces my brain to think of it as a book, rather than just lines on a computer screen. It also has a handy built-in dictionary that you can use to look up any word you’re not sure if you used in the right context. I’ve edited all of my books this way since TAKE, and I often use it when I beta-read as well.

  2. Very good explanation of macro versus micro. And I love that Shannon Hale quote. Ha, speaking of her, I’m re-reading Princess Academy for about the fifth time and I still love this book. It’s making me want to write third person. No, wait, I’ve been thinking about that for a few weeks…

    But alas, this next book is not a third-person type book…

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