Clare London (clarelondon) wrote,
Clare London

JAN 03 - To Edit or not to Edit?

Hi there!
Today's guest is jolilightner. She's an avid reader and writer, with a lovely, very expressive turn of phrase. In fact she has set herself a target this year to work on her writing and produce a very creditable word count. And I'm honoured her LJ-visit will be helping her to kick that off! *lol*

And part of that process is what she'll be talking about today:

You’ve done it. You’ve slaved for hours, days, weeks, months, maybe years on your story or novel. You’ve typed the last period. Now comes the fun part. Editing!

Read the rest below. She highlights very succinctly what we all - or maybe should?! - struggle over.
**Read about the things she's found the worst, as a newbie writer.
**Read about the things where she's so much braver than I am!

And please feel free to offer up your own experience and advice - as authors, readers or (if I have any out there on my F-List?) editors.

To edit as you go or at the end?
To edit on screen or paper?
To be cruel to be kind to your prose????

I am an extremely newbie writer. In the last six months, I’ve only finished two short stories, although I’ve started a fair number more. I’ve discovered something strange, too. I enjoy the editing process! It certainly has it’s moments of pulling hair out, but over all I love the act of tearing the work apart. I like trashing words, sentences, whole paragraphs and sometimes half the story. I feel like the hard part is done. Once the story is on paper, all I have left is to tweak, tighten and rewrite.

One of the hardest things about editing that I’m working to improve is my need to edit as I go. This may work for some, but it keeps me from continuing with the story. It causes me to get stuck. My goal for my writing process in the future is to just do it, to just write, without worrying about fixing things until I’ve finished a scene. Shouldn’t editing be about fixing things after the process?

When I edit, I must have a hard copy in front of me. This hasn’t been a huge issue so far, seeing as everything I’ve written has been short. But I need paper and ink words, and a giant red pen. I like to scribble all over the draft, marking through words, fixing phrases, taking out repetitions. I really like doing this in my living room, away from the computer, with the TV on softly as background.

Of course, I’m not super good at this whole editing thing. Like I mentioned, I’m new to this whole shebang. I’m pretty good at editing out words and phrases that need to go, but I’m quite weak when it comes to adding elements back into the story. It’s hard for me to step away from my work, to analyze its failings and properly diagnose the right solution.

So what’s the hardest part of editing for all you writers out there? What do you enjoy most about the process? What are some of the most common mistakes newbie writers like myself make? Do you agree with me that editing should take place after the fact, or do you find you have to edit as you go? Does anyone have any tips for new writers about editing in general?

Follow this month with Clare (yes, it's all about the MEEEE...):

Jan 01 : the Cheeky Cherubs welcome us to 2009 with a pithy verse or two and the threat of piercings...
Jan 02 : sweet, sexy fiction from lilzazu, all about the perennially tricky problem of a sticky shift...

Want to grab a day to pimp, pose or pontificate? Comment HERE!!
Tags: authors, blog, blog month, editing, writing

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