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Thread: The editing process
March 21st, 2012, 03:58 AM #1
The editing process
As I am working to finish my first novella, thoughts of editing have begun to hit me. I haven't been able to find a lot of threads on the matter, so I decided to start my own. Allow me to share a few points I have recently learned. Anyone else who has something to add, please feel free.
Three levels of editing (content editing)
1. Triage editing - major changes to the story. Adding/removing characters or scenes. The main purpose of this level of editing is to make sure the overall story works. Have you made good on all your promises? Look at the climax and resolution of your story; was it properly foreshadowed?
2. Shotgun editing - Jumping around the story and looking for general problems. Are you being repetitive? Are you being repetitive? Is your Character nodding 10 times on a single page? From what I could understand, this level of editing involves checking various aspects of the story for problems.
3. Character by Character edit - This one is pretty self-explanatory. Make sure your characters sound and act as they should. Sometimes you may have a character say or do something out of character which throws off an entire scene.
Hook - Make sure you have a hook at the beginning of the book and at the end of every chapter. End of chapter hooks needn't be a dramatic cliffhanger. Instead, they can be some revealed piece of information.
Repeating oneself- Same as up top. In my opinion, one phase of editing should consist solely of checking for repeats. I can already tell that my story is filled with too many "looks", "glares", "gazes", "stares", and the like.
Passive voice, passive actions - I am definitely guilty of this one. "The girls walked into the store" is better than "John saw the girls walk into the store."
POV - Make sure you're not in somebodies head you shouldn't be.
Symmetrical pagination/pacing - A one page chapter followed by a twenty page chapter can be off-putting. I believe the overall advice for this was to make sure your pages match the pace of the book. Smaller number of pages will lead to a punchier pacing.
I hope these links help someone in the editing process. Please post other tips and links you may have.
March 21st, 2012, 09:45 AM #2
http://wordcounter.com/ is very useful for finding any words you abuse.
I was also told to read it outloud the final edit to see if there's any clunky sentances or poorly worded paragraphs left in the book before publishing.
March 22nd, 2012, 11:14 PM #3
I have the misfortune of being born with Asperger Syndrome (a form of high functioning autism). It causes me to use the same phrases or words over and over a lot. My speech is often long winded because of it too. It shows in my writing. Any ideas what I could tell an editor to watch out for when checking my work? Also any way for me to break myself of this that might work or least catch it faster. Other than writing everyday, which is helping me correct myself.
There are some advantages from having Aspergers such as I think differently then most people. My ideas have been described as off the wall or weird so that is a bonus I guess.
March 23rd, 2012, 05:42 AM #4
Of course, repetition isn't always a bad thing - sometimes it can be a stylistic choice, a character trait, or even a persuasive argument. There's a reason so many popular performers have catch-phrases and advertisers say things over and over! Repetition can be poetic and reassuring - it's only a problem if it's unjustified.