E is for Editing

Published on Friday 5th April 2013 by DJ Kirkby

Writers seems to be evenly divided about whether they like editing or not.  I am firmly in the ‘like it’ camp.  For me the hardest part of writing is getting that rough first draft completed.

I find the editing process is very relaxing (usually), and a way to tweak my book into the shape it needs to end up in. I do anywhere between 4 and 10 edits on each piece of writing.  The final two – the line edit and copy edit – are always done  with advice from paid professionals. A good editor is worth their weight in gold (though finding a good one who doesn’t actually want to be paid a fortune can be a challenge).

What camp are you in?

23 comments so far

  • Well I’ve not written a book yet though I have done a few articals and blogs . Had some articals published in the local magazine and even proof read some ladys book. Editing I try to do as I go along then go back to a few times as my spelling is bad. I do intend to try writing a book, just got to figure out how?

    • You write a book one word at a time, just like your articles and blogs. I avoid editing as I go along as I find it breaks my flow but I know plenty of authors who write in one session and then edit the next session.

  • Editing had to be on someones A-Z today and to me it’s where I messed up with my first book, I did not do enough of it in the begining before it left my laptop. But like you I have enjoyed doing it on my last WIP, I do think the more you edit the more the book comes alive.

    • Ian, I did exactly the same thing when I was conned into accidentally self publishing it. It could only happen to me, the worst person in the world to self publish a novel without a professional edit. When I found out I had been conned in self publishing instead of being traditionally published as I had thought, I asked for the book to be removed from print and chalked it up to a lesson learned.

  • Hi Dee. Although I am yet to finish first draft of my novel, I have written lots of short stories and blogs, and I have to say I have grown to love the editing process. Once I released myself from the inner editor that everyone talks about, I was liberated to tear apart my draft and really hone the writing. This is such a great feeling! I agree with Ian – with each edit, the more the book/story grows in power.

  • I’m firmly in the ‘like editing’ camp but I think that’s the lawyer in me. I like problem-solving and puzzles and pulling things apart to put them back together again. It’s something I enjoy doing, especially when I can see the book start to take shape.

    • Tom, I think it’s very interesting that you class yourself as in both camps. I didn’t expect anyone to say that and it has made me look at editing from a perspective I hadn’t considered before.

  • I prefer the revision/editing stage. the story in whatever form it’s in, is out – you know what I mean! 🙂 I agree with you that getting that first draft down feels the hardest, getting that thing out your head in some kind of format. Editing is fun, you can see the story, see how it can work, it’s exciting! Yes, it is also frustrating, but isn’t all writing.

    • Rebecca, you’re SO right! Writing is frustrating at times, yes, but then I think that’s why we do it…because the end result is worth the effort. You and I will never choose the easy path through life, we’re wired the opposite way.

  • Well I’ve not really done much editing and think I prefer the rush of the first draft but editing is something I need to sort out to get published which is the ultimate aim. Speaking of which I should have been doing some this week!!

  • I have ups and downs with editing. (Coincidentally, I did editing for my E entry too!) I have moments when I enjoy it, when I love the chance to take the story and really make sure it lives up to my expectations of it. I also have moments when I am so over it I just want it to be done already.

    Kind of like writing really.

    Rinelle Grey

    • Rinelle (what a fabulous name!), I too have moments where I could run away from my WIP screaming but something always keeps me there. It’s when I want to pluck my own eyes out rather than look at my WIP one more time that I know I’m done. 🙂

  • I am in the “like editing” camp, though I find it tricky to edit my own stuff too soon after I write it.

    Since getting a Kindle recently, I’ve come across a lot of books written by writers who apparently fall into the “don’t like editing” camp–and who haven’t bothered hitting up their “like editing” friends to proofread their work.

    • Hi Dan, it is a shame that people self-publish books without a professional edit. I agree with you that it is very difficult to edit too soon after finishing the first draft. I usually have two projects on the go so I let finished first drafts ‘rest’ before starting to edit.

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