|The pile of chapter edits waiting for me on my writing desk.|
But four hours of my day were spent working on editing the manuscript for my book, White Lands Dragon. Although not as joyous as working on new material, it is nonetheless part and parcel of a writer's life. This time it wasn't big stuff. Rather, I focused on the smaller edits: word choice, grammar, sentence structure, etc. Mostly "line edits." Nothing larger than within-chapter stuff. Some of this was from critiques from my writer's group, the Peeps, and some from a go-through of my whole book on my part. And I still have many chapters to go. After that, I'll go back and focus on the larger issues, like continuity issues of the book as a whole, plotting, and character references.
As you can see from the picture of my desk, all those folders contain printouts that have been critiqued and are ready to edit. Oh boy.
Author Jenna Moreci posted a video that is pretty close to my process. See below for her video on self-editing. I'm what she calls a "fuckit" editor, which is her way of saying you edit as you go. My process involves writing a rough draft of a chapter, then reading it through digitally for obvious edits/additions/deletions. Then I print it and go through it again. Then I move on to the next chapter. At some point soon, my writer's group critiques the chapter. Then, when I'm able (usually when I'm taking a break from writing new material), I'll go through their critiques and make more edits.
I'll follow this process all the way until the first draft is done. Next I go through the entire book several times, first for "big" issues, like plot arcs and pacing. What Moreci calls the "forest edit." At this point I might change large sections, or touch on each plot point where it falls in the book. Heck, I might move chapters around, rewrite, or delete whole chapters, but it's very rare at this point. Then with each pass I'll focus "on the trees" as Moreci says, doing more line edits. And then go through again. Hopefully, at this point, it'll be good enough to send out with a query. But it seems the edits are never truly done. If the book gets accepted by a potential publisher, then the professional editing process begins, which, as I understand, can be pretty grueling.
[Related: Is Line Editing A Lost Art?]
Oh, and I got some great gifts from my family, too, including a copy of Robert Jordan's Eye of the World, the first book in the Wheel of Time series, from my son, as well as a $20 gift certificate for my all time favorite bookstore, Smith Family Bookstore, which I've blogged about before. This, combined with the many books I got at Christmas, has given me some great reading in the weeks ahead.
Cheers and happy reading!