An Editing Adventure

July 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

So right off the bat, let me tell you that I’ve been finding editing quite difficult, especially to get initially started but I think I’m kind of getting the hang of it now.

Some important things that you should probably do when editing:

  • Keep a separate folder for your novel. 

Put all your notes/plans/character-sheets etc. in it. I didn’t do this before I began my editing or during the process of writing my novel. I had random plans in random notebooks. Stray pieces of paper with character information in this folder or that. I found that I needed most of it once I began editing, just to have a good idea of what I was aiming for with my novel and where this went wrong/went right so that I could really see the shape of my first draft and analyse how I want to change that shape for the second draft. I spent almost a day gathering everything up from different corners of my room so definitely try to get organised before you begin editing

  • Laugh at yourself.

This is the fun part of editing, I think. Your first draft is your worst draft. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a load of rubbish but there’ll be a fair amount that you’ll read and think “what…? Did I write this?” I don’t know about you guys but I often write when I’m sleep deprived or on a sugar high so going back over some of my work has been interesting, to say the least. So the best thing to do is laugh at the fact that you can be a pretty crap writer.

The funniest thing I’ve found so far this line: “They gave a brief nod before one protruded a key from his pocket and began tinkling with the lock on the door”. Because tinkling with locks is so much fun.

  • Work through your plot holes.

You know that big, glaring plot hole in your novel? The one that you’ve been telling yourself you’ll figure out later on? Yeah, figure it out now. The second draft should work out the kinks in your plot and characterisation so definitely make that a focus!

  • Edit like a reader, not a writer

As a writer, I tend to get insanely attached to my characters and even my scenes. You can’t think like a writer when you’re editing. You have to be the reader. If a scene does nothing for the plot, take it out. If a scene creates a plot hole for your novel, take it out. If a character plays a role that doesn’t drive the story forward, take them out. Make crucial decisions. They may be your favourite character, it may be your favourite scene but if it isn’t necessary for the current novel, it needs to go! Put these things away somewhere, if you’re extremely attached, and one day you may well be able to use them for something else entirely!

So these are the things that I’ll be keeping in mind next time I’m editing… and through this editing venture because I’ve only barely begun!

I do have some more things to say, but I’ll save that for another day. For now, happy editing!

P.S: I tend to live-tweet my editing. It’s not the most exciting thing on earth (pretty far from it actually) but if anyone wants, you can follow me at @adiba_j on twitter.


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