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  1. #1
    Aver0n 2o11
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    Editing & Revision

    I know they say to leave it and come back in a years time nice and fresh but my work is kind of getting beyond that. Took me two years just to finish its first completed version and I'm past the lovie-dovie stage, I don't think it's beautiful, in fact I know it's not beautiful. That still doesn't help me when it comes to editing and revision though.

    My main concerns: Plot & Characters - especially rewrites.

    I'm not looking at cutting and chopping as I usually micro-edit as I go so I'm not concerned about spelling and grammar and if I've crossed all the 't's and dotted the 'i's.

    There are segments that I know will need a complete overhaul but I'm kind of... it's like standing in the middle of a very messy room and telling yourself you should start Spring cleaning. I don't even know where to start with all the junk cluttering my view. I need to be able to see the big picture before I get out the broomstick and start sweeping.

    Any tips on revision & editing will be much appreciated.



  2. #2
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    I suggest doing less rather than more. My writing is freshest as I've orginally written it. Anything beyond that is quick polish or it begins to lose the "me" in it and starts becoming "everyone's" pablum. I write it; let it sit (sometimes not more than a day if it's a short story); review it for grammar, spelling, punctuation, consistency, while maybe making a few content changes (and my wordage goes up in a review rather than down); review it again just for content; spell check it; go through it via "find" to check that the double quotes are in proper pairs; send it to the publisher for editing; clean it up when it comes back; and then one final read-through, making any other necessary changes I find.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Averon 2011 View Post
    ....
    There are segments that I know will need a complete overhaul but I'm kind of... it's like standing in the middle of a very messy room and telling yourself you should start Spring cleaning. I don't even know where to start with all the junk cluttering my view. I need to be able to see the big picture before I get out the broomstick and start sweeping.

    Any tips on revision & editing will be much appreciated.
    The overwhelmed feeling and not knowing where to start is exactly why you need to take time away from it. A year is a bit much, but don't even look at the sucker for at least a month or two. Start a new project or three. Get the old one out of mind as completely as possible.

    You'll either return to it after the hiatus and know what needs doing, or you'll realize that was your "practice" book and the new project is really a lot more promising....

    Good luck.

  4. #4
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    There's no particular amount of time you need to stay away. I don't know who told you it was a year, but that's kind of extreme. It's just about looking at something else (like trees or people or piled up laundry) instead of the computer, thinking other thoughts, and then coming back to it fresh. I like to let stuff sit for a week and then go back. I welcome those breaks, even if I think my writing is as good as it can get. I get a lot of other things done. And I always find something I missed when I come back to the work.

    it's like standing in the middle of a very messy room and telling yourself you should start Spring cleaning. I don't even know where to start with all the junk cluttering my view.

    I don't know about you, but when I do cleaning, I start at the front and work to the back, clearing things as I go. At the end, I have a mess at the back (papers, magazines, clothes that should go to donation, borrowed books to return, etc.), and I deal with it there, while the rest of the place is nice and clean.

    So, with writing, I start at the beginning, fixing stuff I find, and if I come across a sentence/paragraph/section that doesn't please me, I copy it and paste it at the end on a clean page. Then, after I've read the entire thing and stuck every "iffy" item at the back, I read what I pasted and decide what to keep or rewrite and what to delete.

    Works for me. By doing it this way, I keep the momentum of the edit and don't get stuck in one spot.

  5. #5
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    Personally, I can't start a new project until I finish the old one. I may step away for a week or so, but never longer than that. But everyone is different.

  6. #6
    Cat
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    What you're saying strikes me as somewhat contradictory. You say that you're most concerned with plot and character but you don't want to do any cutting and chopping because you've already done micro-edits.

    If you find problems in plot and character, how can you fix them without macro-edits?

    Or am I missing something?

    And do step back from it for a bit, especially for "big picture" issues.

  7. #7
    Aver0n 2o11
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    Quote Originally Posted by the cat came back View Post
    You say that you're most concerned with plot and character but you don't want to do any cutting and chopping because you've already done micro-edits.
    What I'm saying is that my problem isn't with cutting, it's with expanding. My writing style is extremely compact so my final product is always very short. I need to expand it to make it longer, to give the characters more life, to do a lot of things with the story. But once I've already settled on a direction/path, it's very difficult for me to change (I'm stubborn in that way).

    For my stories that already have completed versions (drafts, MSs, whatever you wanna call them), I already have the story in full. I just need to add in some scenes for character development and also for pacing. I know that stories can't just be racing the whole way through, sometimes there has to be a scene or two where the characters stop to smell the roses. It's me trying to add these extra scenes in that my mind is not agreeing with and won't cooperate with me at the moment.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Averon 2011 View Post
    What I'm saying is that my problem isn't with cutting, it's with expanding. My writing style is extremely compact so my final product is always very short. I need to expand it to make it longer, to give the characters more life, to do a lot of things with the story. But once I've already settled on a direction/path, it's very difficult for me to change (I'm stubborn in that way).

    For my stories that already have completed versions (drafts, MSs, whatever you wanna call them), I already have the story in full. I just need to add in some scenes for character development and also for pacing. I know that stories can't just be racing the whole way through, sometimes there has to be a scene or two where the characters stop to smell the roses. It's me trying to add these extra scenes in that my mind is not agreeing with and won't cooperate with me at the moment.
    Do you do a pass specifically for adding more (more that directly serves the plotline, of course)? My first writes also are more sparse than what I wind up with. But my "expanding" pass is the same as my technical review pass. Those not trained in editing might need separate passes for this, though.

    I don't really see that as a problem. Just more your own writing technique. I seem nothing fundamentally problematic about it.

  9. #9
    Cat
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    Adding in scenes to reveal character? Sounds like a recipe for flaccid scenes. What about revealing character through the scenes you already have? What about working with tge narration? Giving your characters opportunities to reflect and to plan, to think and to feel?

    If the plot is already solid without these scenes you contemplate then you may end up with superfluous material.

  10. #10
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    Wow. Flaccid and superfluous? Watch out, Averon!

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