Editing and Rewriting

Novel In A Day Workshop2Since attending the writer’s workshop at the beginning of the month, my head has been in over-drive. Time-scales, publishing options, lessons learnt, and the other participant’s views… And then I had a few comments about how much time I spend editing – which got me thinking about the whys and hows of the editing process.

My Process

Firstly, I’ve not spent all of that time editing and re-writing. Although I began writing Planes Shifter in January 2012 and it’s now October 2013, I’ve also written 120,000 words of new novel drafts.

I didn’t finish draft one of Planes Shifter until October 2012. I began the edit formally in April 2013, and alongside the two new novel ideas and job/life/friends, I’ve managed to re-write it once, and then do about three half-edits.

I completed the sequel at 80,000 words, and I’m about 12,000 words into Kindling. I also began and planned a lot of Shadow Sight  (28,000 words). I moved house, started a new full-time job with a 2-hour daily commute and still have a bit of a social and family life.

Secondly, of the people who have commented on this, I’ve actually traced a few back to see their work and I can see that they rushed their edits.

Thirdly, this is my first fiction project that involves editing. So I am taking my time to learn the trade; to make the mistakes like line editing when there are still plot holes. I’m using a few methods all at once: following a 21-step guide, reading a book on editing and also trying to keep an eye out for key aspects that I need to transfer to the sequels.

Time-scales

At the beginning of October, I finished the line edit of the first six chapters of Planes Shifter – aware that this covers me for any partial requests. I sent these edited chapters off to two readers – one who had seen the draft from January, and one who offered fresh eyes.

Having had one set of feedback returned, I’m experiencing “maybe I should start from the beginning again” syndrome. Much like Cat mentioned she had done in her blog post in September, I’ve given in to it once already. Having sent off my chapters, I’ve found myself itching to begin again – to make a new timescale and a new beginning.

But it’s helpful to know that I’m not alone in missing timescale deadlines though. Katie also wrote on her blog in September that she’d had to move her deadline a little due to certain parts of her book being more heavily edited than others. Particularly as this is the case for my story, it’s helpful to know that other people experience it too. I have lapsed and shifted my deadlines without too much planning.

The Next Three Months

As someone who loves lists and planning, the revelations of just what I need to be doing next mean that I’m re-assessing my goals:

OCTOBER / NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

  • If I’m still behind, focus on meeting my “Read 26 books” goal
  • Edit chapters one to three of Planes Shifter once more
  • Edit the synopsis for Planes Shifter

Do you edit heavily?
What kind of deadlines and timescales do you set yourself?
What are your plans for the last few months of the year?

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2 responses to “Editing and Rewriting

  1. I think that editing is probably the most crucial process of writing, and should have time spent on it. Of course you can got too far with it, but you have to treat your babies well and dress them as nicely as you can.

    • I agree. I’d also actually say that (at least for me) completing the first draft means you’re only about 15% done…. you can spend another 60-75% of your time/work editing, before submission/marketing.

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