Friday, July 1, 2011

Editing—The Necessary Evil

I’m an author who loves the creative process of writing. What I don’t care much for is editing. Unless you are the god of all writing—a prodigy, without editing, a story will belly-flop. I was going to say “suck.” But. I’m not that rude.

Writers go through countless edits—as I’m realizing more and more everyday—so it should be FUN! Right?

Everyone say this one word like you really mean it: “Yes!”

Here are some ways I think can make this daunting task more exciting:

• Change the font, size, or even color of the type. Doing this tricks the mind that you’re reading something different—not the story you’ve slaved over for countless months.

• Listen to music. I’ve recaptured my writing muse just though the strumming of a guitar or the beat of the drums. Or plug into some ambient music; perhaps, ocean water sloshing to an island’s sandy shore.

• Change your writing environment. Maybe go to the local library or cool hangout like Starbucks. Get out of your office for a while. Write at the kitchen table, outside, or in the bathroom if you have to, not that I have. Uh… Really!

• Print your manuscript. It can help you to catch things you wouldn’t on a computer screen. Plus, it’ll get you away from your computer for a while.

• Save your book by chapter. Right now, my book is saved in a continuous document. It dawned on me to save each chapter by itself, and put them in one folder. This will keep your eyes from drifting to the page count. For example, if I’m only on page 67 out of 248, I could get discouraged. Trick your mind to think you’ve made progress with little chunks of your book, not all of it as a whole.

• Reward yourself with something dang awesome when you finish your edit. Maybe go to a movie with friends, get a massage, a trip to Vegas, eat at your favorite restaurant, or spend a day out in the sun reading a book.

• Do some yoga poses or jumping jacks in between chapters to loosen up those tight muscles. It’ll get the blood flowing. Your creative process moving again.

• Read your manuscript out loud in a foreign accent. Ok, that might not work to your advantage, but it sure sounds fun, huh?

I’m going to open this up to you! What are ways you get through the tedium of editing? Be honest. The quirkier the better!

PS: Don't forget to enter my book giveaway. I'm giving away Imaginary Girls and Hereafter. Go here to enter!


  1. Personally, I have evil plot bunnies who force me to write on different mss' all of the time. LOL!! But, it does help to break it up into chapters. I also love to play video games & have the TV on in the background whenever I'm writing/editing. Another thing that I do is read another author's work. It changes things up & sometimes helps me see what I'm messing up on punctuation wise. hehe.

    Love the foreign accent one btw! My hubby would think that I was going insane if I did that. LOL!!

  2. During the editing process, one of the techniques I use is to act out the scenes. In the characters voices and mannerisms. It's fun and I tend to notice extra movements or incorrect discriptions. Another process I try is to visualize the story through different POV's, depending on how many characters are involved it can be tedious but it helps me realize certain scenes are best told from different aspects or focus.

  3. Jamie - Yes, having background sound is good. But as you know, my video gamer skills pretty much suck. haha I'd get to frustrated and not want to edit anymore.

    Lamia - thanks for stopping by my bloggy friend. I love loVE LOVE your ideas. That's bring out my inner actor! hehe Gonna add that to my list. Can you imagine me doing that at the library?

  4. I love the foreign accent idea- especially if you are writing speculative fiction of some kind, that would probably be helpful! Imagine reading the book aloud to your kids (even if it's not kid-friendly) and give all the characters "voices" too! Fun!

  5. Gina - giving them a different voice is priceless. I may just have to try it! haha Thanks for the comment!

  6. This is a great post, Julia! I like the idea of rewarding myself after the end of the editing process. I did that when I finished the first draft...I went out to a fancy-shmancy restaurant and order only the best food on the menu! It made the whole event special and brought the first phase of the book to a closure.

    Keep pushing out these great posts...they are helpful and inspiring!

  7. I break the manuscript into small parts and take lots of breaks during editing. That's my way of making it through. Plus, I share at the end of the day (usually with my hubby, poor guy) all the stuff I did to make my novel better!

    By the way, I saw that you are reading Bram Stoker's Dracula. Love that one!

  8. Julie - I'm loving Dracula! Only 15 pages in and can't get enough of it! Thanks for the comment.