How do you approach edits?


#1

Some of my writer friends rehaul their entire book and add entire new chapters and take things out and change things in one large editing process.

I can’t do that. I know for a fact that if I sit there and stare at my book for hours, rereading and reading the same things over and over, I know I will miss large chunks of errors, making the entire process pointless to begin with.

I do small edits. I’ll read through a scene while checking for some info and find a mistake and fix it or I give myself plenty of months to do edits. My brain doesn’t function well under pressure.

How do you do your edits? What’s your preferred process? Do you like to get it so done all at once or do it bit by bit?


#2

Editing is one of the hardest parts of the entire process!! I feel like I’ve managed to get a better grip on it solely by following a sort of routine with editing.

The first thing I do after writing something is walk away from the piece for some time. Sometimes it’s as quick as a lunch break and other times it’s as long as a few months; it depends on the size of the project for me. When I finished the first full write-through of my book, I didn’t touch it for nearly 2 months. That time away was good for thinking about the stuff I wanted to change that was really sticking with me post-writing.

When I’m finally ready to start editing (regardless of how much time has passed) I start with a quick read through. This is where I’ll pick out the most glaring grammatical errors and basic plot stuff that needs to be altered or words that just don’t fit right. During this read through, I take notes on everything bigger scale that will need to be changed. I usually print the document (sorry trees) and write all over it and in a separate notebook. For big projects I’ll go chapter by chapter or section by section, for smaller stuff I just take general notes.

Then, I like to take another break. Sometimes a few days, sometimes a few hours—it really depends on the mental energy that I have. It’s a taxing process. It’s hard and breaks are very important. I like to read as much as possible during these breaks and try to fill my brain with as much “nourishing content” as possible.

Then I start all the major rewrites and bigger edits that require a lot of thinking and planning. It’s another chance for me to snag any other grammatical errors, but I also tend to make a lot of new ones in the process which is fine because…

The last step is a sharp grammatical eye. This is the worst part in some ways and the best in others. Its great 'cause it means you’re almost done, but it also sucks because you find more stuff you want to change or make better but have to ignore it while fixing grammar and decide if it’s really really worth it to make another change.

And at that point I declare it “done” but then continue to snip and edit and fix and nitpick at it because I just have to. But that’s sort of how my process has gone recently, but that’s just been the best process for me. I think every writer just has to find an editing style that is sustainable and that works best for them. Trying all different methods of editing can be helpful and, as always, reading books about editing and just reading in general will help.


#3

I do different edits throughout my process. I have a sort of pre edit since at the beginning I just get down all my ideas and usually that’s whole scenes and dialogue and stuff. After my proper planning I go through everything I already brainstormed to edit, fix, use or discard. What does make it into the first draft gets another edit when put it in so it fits in smoothly.
I also reread the chapter I’m working on the previous chapter to refresh my memory and get into the right head space so a bit of edit goes on there but it’s mostly small stuff like spelling and grammar.
I also edit when I have writers block, usually because depression impedes creativity. Makes me feel productive even when I’m not putting down new content and it keeps me thinking about the story, keeping my brain active and fighting the depression without overtaxing myself. I do spelling and grammar here as well but mostly I pick up on a lot of continuity errors, things left over from discarded ideas or things missing as I’ve changes or added things. I also go back and change things as I go when I pick up things that don’t work as well I first thought try things different ways, get new ideas to test out.
The story I’ve got posted on Wattpad got a small “Copy to new platform” edit but only for a few glaring spelling/grammar things that a new context helped me see. Otherwise, it goes the the beta readers and I leave it be until after I’ve got feedback I can work with. Once I’ve heard other people’s thoughts I do the first major edit with the bulk of adding, cutting and rewriting.
I see planning as a foundation and guide and change the plan as I go so editing as I go is an important part of that for me. I like the flexibility and I think it works for me.


#4

I think this is a very important step and I feel like some people are in too much of a hurry to get their book to a completed stage. When you’ve been submerged in a project for so long, I think we become “nose blind,” in a manner of speaking. Our exposure to it has decreased our sensitivity to things we would have otherwise noticed right away.


#5

These are the hardest mistakes to filter out. Especially across multiple books.


#6

oh totally! “Nose blind” is a great way of describing it actually, haha!
And in terms of hurrying, that’s a major struggle to deal with as well because you always want to see instant success, you want to be able to support yourself on writing.


#7

Every Chapter, if not every paragraph, gets treated a different way.

It really just depends on how complete and “perfect” I feel it is. Sometimes I rework a whole chapter. Other times just a tweak here or there. Maybe remove something if I feel it doesn’t add to the story. Rewrite a block of seven or eight paragraphs if I feel they need it and leave the rest be.

Right now in one story I am working on I am adding a bunch of stuff to the second book just because it is pretty lean compared to the first and I think it needs more muscle to it.


#8

I write the entire first draft first and then I go back and reread it and edit it a billion times. I end up adding a lot of stuff, since I’m a severe underwriter when I write the first draft. So it’s not unusual I end up adding at least 10k words.

Then I upload to Wattpad, get a ton of critiques and then I go back to editing. And it’s done just like my second drafting. Reading through it, edit it, add stuff, remove stuff…

Rinse repeat until I die :joy:


#9

How? With joy in my heart. I edit chap by chap, then I edit character threads. then I have a bazillion people crit and catch errors. then I beta read and preen as I do. then I annoy the critiques by having them final edit again. then I deal with those results. Then I ask for other thread and arc Ideas. Then I re edit, and sometimes rewrite. - And the mill turns. Eventually I regretfully shoot the engineer and put the damn thing into production.

Then,I do it all over again with some other project.

Hee hee…

Aw darn, I dropped my pencil . Ooh look, a dime!


#10

My process, put succinctly:


#11

I love editing! I actually need to reign myself in sometimes to get productive writing done. My first on-paper chapter is on draft seven and my last is on draft one. Half my book isn’t even written yet.

I edit earlier chapters as I write, in part because I get noticeably better at writing and editing the farther I go, so I’m perpetually dissatisfied with my older work. It suits my Wattpad schedule nicely, though… I write so far ahead of posting that most stuff is on draft three or four by the time it hits the site.

I’ll sometimes do an editing run of the entire so-far-written book for one particular thing, like dialogue formatting or continuity, but most of my work is a continuous process of trimming. I’ll spend hours scrubbing everything from words to scenes to characters. Very rewarding!


#12

Editing is my favorite part of writing. When I write my first draft I just unload what’s happening and end up with around 5000 words or something per chapter. When I edit, I usually discover that at least 1000 words have been written by me so that I can keep track of what is happening and what is about to happen, mostly in the form of info dumps that fleshes out the world.

Once I cut down my chapter to around 3500 words I look over the text again and rewrite and add where it’s needed, and then I cut again.

I guess I just like cutting out text to make the text more easy to read.


#13

I drink a cup of coffee, settle in, and spend all of my allotted work time in the community forums.


#14

How do you approach edits?

With tooth and nail.


#15

I’m one of those people who is constantly revising and editing as I go along. I know that distracts some from getting the story down but I find it actually helps me develop what is to come.