This week I've been consumed with editing - both my Nano novel and a short story. To help me through the process I followed Kim Wilkins' Precision Editing tips from WQ (Nov 09, Issue 190). Her most important advice that I kept coming back to was:
(to edit) 'in a methodical and detached way'.
For my Nano novel I adopted her tip of using the review menu in Word to mark up changes and ended up with 74 comments to resolve. This approach took me back to my days of editing Key Feature Documents for AXA IM in London so I was certainly in the right mindset! And after many hours of editing only 13 comments remained.
I was apprehensive about resolving the larger structural problems that clustered around the middle of my manuscript. It's no surprise because it was the middle story that I had problems writing.
'This is where things come unstuck' I wrote on my printed draft.
And it's true. It was as if I was rushing through the tricky bit, trying to get to the other side where things were clearer. Ultimately this led to lack of grounding, questions of character motivation and poor transitions.
These larger structural issues were resolved by:
- isolating the scenes and sections that needed work and
- writing very brief notes (about half a page) on the chapter purpose and what characters want.
Was it any easier editing my short story? Obviously it was a quicker process given the shorter word length but the same principals applied. I was still writing macro-editing notes and marking up my story. But I'm glad to be pursuing new creative writing opportunities. It a chance to explore writing and editing techniques and discover what works best for me.
What works for you when it comes to editing?