Edit slow, edit tough…heck, bleed all over it with a red pen. Last Monday, we discussed Write hard, write fast, this week we talk about the editing process. Some of us edit as we write, some of us edit when we are done writing the entire book. But when it comes to full out editing, James Scott Bell encourages us to:
Edit slow, edit tough with a process both clear and cool.
A clear process, I can understand, but cool?
For my first draft, I fall into the write hard, write fast, but when it comes to editing, I slow way down. Editing a 80,000-120,000 word novel is a huge undertaking and Bell suggests to have some kind of process, a schedule, a checklist… Yikes, I hadn’t thought about creating a process of editing. I just did it. I cut what I didn’t like, worked on the flow, read books about editing, and then after a couple of rewrites, I joined a local critique group. That was amazing experience, but after a couple of years and two kids, I had to step away. Thankfully, I found another critique group online and I can’t wait to start submitting my current work in progress.
Back to editing… Bell goes into a lot more detail on revisions in his book, Revision & Self-Editing. He breaks the editing process down into categories, such as Character, Theme, Plot, Dialogue, Show vs Tell, etc… All with nice little checklists and questions to helps us think through each category. I’m thinking I might need to get this book. One of my favorite editing books is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. If you are looking for a good, all-around book on fiction writing, I love Writing Fiction for Dummies by Randy Ingermanson and Peter Economy. Knowing what makes good fiction, we’ll know how better to create it.
So what are your favorite editing books? What’s your strength/weakness when it comes to editing?