Editing: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You a Stronger Writer

 

I hate edits.  I really do.  It makes my writing better which I love.  I love taking the words of a first draft and turning them into a novel that people will actually want to read, not a crappy novel that has 500+ grammar mistakes and content mistakes.  So why do I hate editing?  Because I’ve already seen the story.

I’m on the third draft of my novel, Read Me Dead, and if all goes according to plan, I should have it completely finished by February.  *crossing my fingers*  But, as much as I love this story, I’ve read it three times already not to mention I’ve already written it the one time already.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could write a perfect first draft?  The thought crosses my mind every time I begin a new novel or short story, but unfortunately, that doesn’t happen.

Okay.  Editing isn’t as bad as I’m making it out to be.  In fact, I think it’s one of the most important parts of the writing process.  I have helpful tips and a guideline, for myself, that I go by which makes the editing go along better (not to mention a chocolate and caffeine intake which seems to help as well).  And I’ve shared before here and well on a guest post what my personal guidelines are.

But, I think it’s because I’ve already seen the story so much which puts me in a sour mood when it comes to editing.  I want something fresh to write, but I also want to get my work out there for the masses.  CONFLICT!

I love Read Me Dead.  I’ve always been in love with the idea, ever since I first started it back in high school.  It came to me in a dream, like most of my novel and short story ideas.  I started it, but I never liked my writing, but I finally managed to take the high school idea and transform it into a more mature and structured novel.

It’s still technically YA novel, but a lot of the adults who were betas, loved it which makes me feel AWESOME!  I’m glad people love it, and as I look over it again, I realize it’s not a bad book.  Usually, when I start edits, I find a hundred different flaws and toss the novel aside but not with this one which makes me HAPPY!

I think what helps too is putting it on my Android tablet and reading it like an ‘actual’ book and not something I have to look at in order to edit it.  It makes it feel more real, I guess.  Maybe I’m crazy, but if it tricks me into having an easier time editing, I’m all for it!

I also have ANOTHER novel to edit.  I just finished my vampire/werewolf novel that needs a title.  YAY!  I promptly celebrated with sparkling grape juice (since I don’t drink), almond Hershey kisses, and a Hawaii Five-O (the first season of the newer version) marathon.

I’m thinking the title should be either Bloodlust: A Knight’s Academy Novel or When Night Falls: A Knight’s Academy Novel.  It’s part of a series that takes place at a private school, Knight’s Academy, which happens to be full of vampires with an agenda, to use humans as breeders in order to build an army.  That’s all I’m going to say right now.  I don’t want to give too much away, and in fact, the novel might not even be published.  I’ll have to get some more opinions on it before making a decision.

But as I think about it, editing helps me write a better first draft the next time around.  Once I learn my common mistakes, it’s easier to move on to a new draft with the idea in mind that, “Hey, I screwed up this way in my last novel, let’s try to avoid that in this one.”  Still, not a perfect first draft but BETTER, which I’m perfectly happy with.  Editing may be difficult and tedious and annoying, but it does make you a stronger writer.

So, how do you deal with the editing process?  Is it something you like, or do you dislike it?  Do you think it makes you a stronger writer?  Sound in now!  (Also, what do you think about the title for my new book?)

 

 

 

19 thoughts on “Editing: What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You a Stronger Writer

  1. I love editing. Love it. If I could skip the first draft and move straight on to edits, I’d be a seriously happy writer. Unfortunately, that’s not really a possibility. (Although if I’m struggling to get words on the page, I sometimes pretend that I’m editing a poorly-worded version of events that exists solely in my own head…)

    What genre/mood is your new book? I like both titles, but they each give me a different impression. ‘Bloodlust’ sounds a bit paranormal romance, whereas ‘When Night Falls’ sounds a bit darker. At least, that’s my interpretation.🙂

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    1. I love the rush of writing a first draft, but I love the “polished” feel I get from editing. So, I’m conflicted about how I feel about editing.😉

      It’s YA fantasy. (No bodice-ripping lol) It is a bit darker because I don’t like the “sparkly” vampires in my novels. My vampires use humans for nothing more than breeding and for their own pleasure in hunting down prey.

      Thanks for commenting!🙂

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  2. Right now I’m at the stage where I’m sick of editing the same eleven stories over and over, and I’m going to see about getting some beta readers to check it out while I work on something else for a while. I talked about this on my blog.

    Oh, and I always mark up drafts on my Kindle. Much easier than doing it on the computer, and cheaper than printing each draft out on paper. Also, it’s good to mark up changes without actually being able to make them at that moment. Sometimes I mark “remove comma” but then on reflection (when I get to the computer) I decide to stet it.

    I agree with Jo, by the way. If the book title has “lust” in it, in any form, people will expect some bodice-ripping.

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    1. I believe that at some point, reading the same story over and over again will make your head explode. Ok, maybe not that drastic, but if you read the same book over and over again, then you get bored and kind of crazy. That’s my opinion anyway. 😉

      I like the idea of marking up drafts on your Kindle. I’ll have to do that when I get my Kindle for Christmas. And yes, it’s definitely cheaper than printing it out!

      Thanks for the help with the title. I’m about 80% sure I’m going to go with When Night Falls right now. Guess I’ll see what happens when I get to the edits for that one.🙂

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      1. I don’t think my head would actually explode, it might just feel as if it was going to.

        The main thing that happens when you read the same story over and over is you lose track of what will actually make it better.

        Plus your head might explode, too.🙂

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      2. I felt like my head would explode today! I stared at my computer for so long my vision got all blurry and my head started hurting. Of course, they could’ve been from my sinuses.😉 lol

        But yes, that’s the main problem with editing. I guess you have to edit, take a break, edit again, and so on. It’s a never-ending process or so it seems!🙂

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  3. I don’t mind edits, I suppose life would be finer without them but my stories wouldn’t. The part I mind not having the knowledge to do a competent job of it myself.

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  4. Talk of editing makes sets my teeth on edge. Not editing itself: *Talking* about it — or, more accurately, hearing other people talk about it. I don’t like the terminology I tend to hear used — slashing, cutting, maiming the original draft, splattering it with blood-red ink. I feel like I’m being asked to rip my baby apart with my teeth in a Bacchanalian frenzy!

    When it comes to getting down the first draft, I clean up a lot as I go — going back to insert the foreshadowing I forgot in Chapter Two, switching from POV A to B for this section, erasing half the conversation between Him and Her to bring things back on track from the tangent down which they were merrily skipping… (How did I make it through NaNo last year, again?…) By the time I type “The End”, I feel as if I’ve read a good half of it at least three times. Then I read it again, aloud to my designated first-reading buddy, finding and eliminating a grand mess of typos I somehow managed to miss the last time through. Then reading buddy will probably have a few points she thinks ought to be clarified, and I’ll add drips of oil until the squeaking stops. Then I’ll usually get to work on the next story idea, leaving the other one alone until I crave re-reading it (at which point, more typos will doubtless reveal themselves).

    I guess I think of my editing process as shaping the book as I would a ceramic vase. The cutting and pummeling and other mistreatment of the clay happens very early on, draft one, before there’s anything worth getting emotionally attached to. After that, it’s all tender, caressing manipulation into a finished piece as perfect as I can make it. Obviously, that’s not how it works for everyone, and that’s cool; I’d just prefer not to hear all the gory details around the campfire!

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      1. haha! Thanks! I link “When Night Falls” as well!

        Also, I get what you’re saying about editing. It helps me to talk about it. I like the sense of community I get when I know I’m not alone and that there are actually other people who hate editing as well. Sometimes I feel like a loser for hating editing though. It obviously makes my work better, but I just can’t stand to sit down and do it!

        Anyway, sorry I tortured you by talking about it!😉 lol

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  5. I love editing my first novel because it lets me read some of my best work, again and again. I hate editing my second because it forces me to face my worst work,. again and again. The third, I haven’t done much with, the fourth, ditto…
    Editing is fun for me generally, although working with a WP program that isn’t compatible with the original doc. takes a bite out of the enjoyment!

    Honestly, I think if you’re going to use a concept like night falling, which has been used alot, you might as well simplify it for your purpose and sneak in some humor by calling it Knight Falls.
    Peace, Mari

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      1. Emerald, I did a little research on this, via an Amazon title search… there is a romance novel of that name… and lots of other permutations of night+fall/s/ing, whatever. From which you can take the idea that the image does indeed sell, at least. Here’s a link, hoping it will be helpful, not soul-crushing! http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=night+falls&x=0&y=0
        I always google my character names and titles, just to see what comes up; but only after the big writing work is done.

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      2. Thanks for the help.🙂 Maybe I should rethink my title. (It was very helpful and only a little soul-crushing. lol)

        I like to search for my titles as well.

        I’m hoping that maybe in edits I can come up with a title. *crossing my fingers*

        Again, thanks!

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  6. I’ve got the love-hate relationship with editing too; I love editing for other people! But I hate editing my own work. I have to let it set for a while (couple weeks is usually good), so I can forget about what I’ve written. The hardest part about editing for me is checking verb tenses. I feel like I switch tenses sometimes and it drives me absolutely nuts! And I’m terrible at picking up on it too. I need beta readers to find a lot of typos for me too; I’m notorious for not seeing them. 😄

    Now when I edit for other people… I’m a darn good editor. For me? I tend be lackluster, overly critical on everything, or miss things completely. -_-

    So, yeah, I feel your pain! Sometimes when I edit I’ll read something I wrote and get excited (did I really write that??) and then I’ll read something else and get depressed (OMG, did I really write that?!).

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    1. “Sometimes when I edit I’ll read something I wrote and get excited (did I really write that??) and then I’ll read something else and get depressed (OMG, did I really write that?!).”

      That sums up my editing experiences. Lol.

      I know how you feel. I miss some really stupid mistakes sometimes and that’s why I get people to read it for me. I switch tenses some because usually I have multiple projects going on, all in different tenses which throws me off.

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