"Hello, How May I Edit You?"

As you may (or may not) have noticed, my blogging has been all over the place lately. :D And now that it's October, which is one month closer to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), it's not going to get any normal.


Life is a lot more fun when it's unpredictable, right? Right? Oh okay, not for you guys who crave routines. ;D

So. I FINISHED writing my first draft of HIDDEN. Mind you, this is probably the 4th start-from-scratch-again revision draft, so it's not exactly my first ever novel to finish. Just the one I am satisfied...FOR NOW. For lo and behold, just when you think you've finally written fin or the end or booyah! at the end of your manuscript, and you're finally stuffing yourself with cupcakes in celebration of your GREAT accomplishment, the doorbell rings and the red pen is at your doorstep saying, "Hello, how may I EDIT you?"

If you are smart (like me), you'd slam the door on its face and say, "Not today, buddy! Come back in a couple of weeks."

And then you go back to your happy dancing and cupcake eating, and never mind the red pen eyeing you balefully from outside the kitchen window. You'd better celebrate now because once the two weeks are up, YO! NO CUPCAKES FOR YOU AND YOU MIGHT AS WELL GET SLASHER-CRAZY AND WIELD A HATCHET BECAUSE YOUR FIRST DRAFT WILL BE NEEDING SOME MAJOR SURGERY!

Ahem. It's one of the truths in the universe, unfortunately. No first rough draft turns out to magically be a bestseller. It's just not happenin', dude. Okay? EDITING is part of the process. No shortcuts, no way around it. So tell me, since I need my head back on pretty soon-- HOW DO YOU EDIT YOUR MS?

Please share 'cause I need ideas that are not as torturous as what I'm planning to do with my beloved manuscript. On Wednesday, I'll share with you my process and a few linkages to awesome editing advice. 

While you're here, enjoy this Monday Funny to start off your week right!

By Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Sigh. How I wish...


Lori M. Lee said...

Hooray! Congrats on finishing :D

Krista said...


I edit with a red pen and the intention to make my manuscript bleed as much as possible. Then I make the necessary changes and read through with a blue pen. The intention is to make sure my previous changes did not make things worse.

Then I am done. No more editting until I get feedback from beta readers. This is because it is very easy for me to fall into the trap pf over editing.

Good luck.

Angela V. Cook said...

I know I already said it once, but I'll say it again--CONGRATS!!

Okay, well this is how I edit (1) let it "simmer" for at least 6 weeks--no peeking! ;o) (2) the heavy editing begins--this is where I fix the obvious stuff . . . the stuff that jumps up and screams "fix me!" (3) start passing it out to beta readers (4) more editing--incorporating beta feedback, and fixing things I didn't catch the first time around (5) the polishing stage--fixing the little things and making sure it reads pretty :o) This whole process took me about 3 months, which is the same amount of time it took me to write the darn thing, lol.

This is how I do it, but of course, everyone is different :o) Good luck with the editing!

J. A. Bennett said...

Wahoo! I'm bringing some brownies! I would tell you how I edit, but I haven't been successful at editing yet. So, I'll go with Angela's answer :)

cherie said...

Lori: Thanks!

Krista: You're right. There is such a thing as overediting. Thanks for the tips!

Angela: 6 weeks?!? Okay, maybe that'll work better for me. I'll start editing after Nanowrimo then. Thank you for the helpful tips!

Jen: Haha! Yeah, I know what you mean. ;) <3 u

i'm erin. said...

Oh my gosh, I'm right in the middle of my third edit on my MS. I hate it. I'm not good at editing, but I love reading what other people say. Thanks for sharing this.

Jenny Phresh said...

Hi pal! I did a whole chapter map in a grid. The first column was the page #s, the second column (briefly) what happens in the chapter, the third column potential problems and questions for myself as well as misc notes. Then I went through and answered all those problems and questions one by one--cutting and moving whole chapters and adding new info as needed. Some writers would do this sort of thing BEFORE first draft (outline or map) but I cannot write that way...I am a pantser. Then I give it to my husband to read and he uses a green pen and covers it with notes. Then we discuss his notes at great length over martinis. Then I go back into the manuscript! Editing is never my fave part of the writing process, however...poo!

julie fedderson said...

Editing is not complete without many cupcakes, too! When I edit, I read the entire thing out loud to myself. It's amazing how much it helps with dialog, infodumping, run on sentences.

Mindy McGinnis said...

I edit by waiting. A lot. It's amazing what jumps out at you after you've been through it with what you consider a fine-tooth comb, only to come back a month later and find "your" and "you're" mistakes.

Beta readers. That's all I've got to say.

Clarissa Draper said...

Lots of good advice already but here's what I do:

(a) let the manuscript sit.
(b) find some awesome critique partners (hopefully in the same genre)
(c) after you get back some critiques, work on the plot errors and macro edits first
(d) go back for the micro edits (grammar, word choice)
(e) let it sit again
(f) read through again
(g) repeat steps c and d until perfect

Jessie Humphries said...

Im not kidding when I say this: I am doing just a "Suspense" revision. I am going through and adding one element of suspense to every single scene in my ms. It could be an extra detail of setting, character, or whatever. An extra time crucnch. An extra "turn" or "twist". Seriously.

LTM said...

umm.... can I have that gift? LOL! As for editing, yep. I do the whole stick it in a drawer for a while and then drag it out when (hopefully) I've forgotten it. :p Good luck~ <3

Bethany C. said...

I print the entire thing out. Sit down with my purple (red is so harsh!) pen and start reading. I make comments/changes as I go. Then when all is said and done--incorporate into the document. After I've done this a few times, hand it off to some guinea pigs (a.k.a. betas).

Abby said...

Hello from your newest follower! So glad I found your blog. That comic is hilarious. Oh, how I wish too!

Sarah said...

Huge congrats on finishing HIDDEN (again?)!! Your approach of letting the thing rest is wise. I have never been able to do it. AS SOON as I finish a manuscript, and there have been a handful at this point, I dive right back in. I never allow myself to get some perspective--I just worry at it and obsess over it for days. I've never even typed "the end" because I. Can't. Stop. I mean, I also send it to my agent and betas and all that, but I can't seem to let the thing rest. So--that's probably not that helpful to you, except to cheer you on in your current approach. Which sounds sane.

Tara Tyler said...

i took time away by writing and sending out a couple queries! ha!
then i concentrated on one or two objectives at a time, usually from critiques and then improved the query and sent out some more. edit, rinse, repeat!
i'm a plotter, so this may not be helpful...

but congrats & good luck!

Jemi Fraser said...

Woohoo! Finishing a story is SUCH a great feeling! Enjoy :)

I tend to edit on screen rather than print out. I usually know the big problems already - so I attack them first. :)

Miranda Hardy said...

I like printing it out and going through it with a pen. I hate, however, having to go back and put the edits back into the PC, but this is the best way for me, so far.

Sarah Pearson said...

I know nothing about editing, I'm about to start next week for the first time (after a false start with the, now abandoned, previous ms). But, I am so writing booyah! at the end of every ms from now on :-)

Liz Fichera said...

For once, I'd love cupcakes to ring my doorbell instead of a red pen. :)

Congrats on your accomplishment! Finishing a first draft is HUGE!

Caitlin Vincent said...

Congratulations on finishing and on putting the Edit-pen in it's proper place! :)

The key of editing, for me, is voice. By the end of my "final" draft, my characters had become so much more alive that they sounded flat in the beginning chapters. Once I knew what my characters sounded like (and who they were and what they wanted and how they would say things), editing became the easiest thing in the world. Easy because I knew what I had to do...it was still a ton of work! But I found that all the necessary rewrites came out of making my characters consistent with who they had become by the end. After that, it was line editing. And for line edits, highlighters are my best friends. I assign each color to a particular thing (beats, dialogue tags, adverbs, etc) and go through one chapter at a time. In the process of fixing the highlights, I'm normally able to tighten the prose up without another separate pass.

Oh. And I use purple pens when I edit. Because red is an angry color and purple is a creative one ;)

cherie said...

I'm loving all the advice given here. Thank you so much for your input!!

<3 <3 <3

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