Editing and Procrastination

Yep! Another Blog Post! That means either I have brilliant wisdom to share with the world, or a torrent of consciousness if fighting to pour out of my head, or... I'm procrastinating.
10 points if you can guess which one.

So I'm supposed to be editing. I have done two whole edits of Transylvanian Knight; staggering the alternate timelines, rearranging a few chapters and splitting a few giant ones (obviously I was on a roll that day). Adverbs have been pruned viciously, and let's just say there are far more full stops than there were before as I endeavoured to simplify my sentences for greater impact.

And it is satisfying. Especially when you use an editing program (I dipped my toe in the water with Hemingway, which highlights adverbs, passive voice, over-complicated words and sentences). There were plenty of occasions I ignored the program's recommendations, because they were only that, but it was fantastic to have those issues highlighted and see just how many adverbs I use (too many!)

I thinking of editing as cleaning up. Pruning and arranging and making more beautiful. I've been told writing is shovelling sand into a sandpit, and editing is building the sandcastle, but for me is it like growing a tree: it takes time to grow, and sometimes goes off on tangents, but when you edit you trim and shape and wind branches back in towards the trunk, intertwining different parts of the story in a satisfying way. My analogy is hilarious because I am a rubbish gardener, but hey - that's why I write. I can imagine.

I know also you can get stuck on an endless editing loop. It's never perfect. And unless you have a deadline plenty of people can't quite let go and send it off into the world. But I'm going to force myself to do it. I'm about to do an entire read through OUT LOUD. This I cannot recommend enough. I've been told to do it before and gone "yeah, yeah" but it really helps, especially with dialogue and gestures.

So, what are some of the things I have learned about editing?
- educate yourself about what makes writing flow, then examine your own writing for these things (or lack thereof)
- use a program if it helps! You can try something like ProWriting Aid for free
- but don't let the program kill your voice - it is, after all, your story
- editing never ends. Unless you make it
- read OUT LOUD - if it's confusing or your character sounds like a prat, reconsider (unless you want them to sound like a prat)
- once you're done, get some beta readers to look at it, then go over it again once they've finished
- get someone else to proofread. I'm talking red pen on paper because you will have lived and breathed this story for some time now, and you may not see your errors or typos. I sure as hell don't, so I admit that weakness and find a way around it.
- Just get on and do it!

So on that happy note, I'm going to stop procrastinating and start my out loud read through... Wish me luck!
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Published on August 02, 2016 17:56
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