Tuesday 27 January 2015

Editing out the errors

Progress on my novel was very slow. I admitted to a friend of mine that I was going over the text again and again, until I thought it was perfect. She advised me to stop editing as I wrote, and leave it until I had finished my first draft.

It worked for me, I’ve since finished my first draft, but now comes the tricky bit - editing it!

I’ve found, from editing other peoples work, that editing can be as simple as changing the spelling of a single word, or as massive as looking at what is effective, and what needs reworking.

Two processes are used in editing:

1. Macro Editing:

Is looking at the whole novel, and deciding where the author, (me, in this case), is trying to go. Is the structure right? Are the characters credible? Does the text flow. Does the theme follow the conventions of the genre, to do this you need to know who the audience is. Is the tone right, is the writing consistent?

2. Micro Editing:

Is looking at the text in fine detail. Checking things like punctuation, spelling, and the language used. Looking at the dialogue and imagery. Is there any repetition.

I needed to gain some distance from my work so that I could gain a better perspective, so I printed out what I had written and put it away for a couple of weeks, then I started to look at it. 

I’ve found that reading the piece out loud before I edit gives me an idea of how it flows.

Some suggestions I have been given are: I could also try creating inner censors by imagining my worst enemy or favourite writer reading the piece out. I could also create a conversation with someone about the piece while I’m editing it, or find a reader, or readers to read the unedited piece, the reader could then make suggestions or find errors I have missed. I am going to let friends and some family members read it. I have also been told that editing the piece away from where it was written may give me a different insight on the piece.

Editing the novel may be hard work, but it will be worth it in the end.


How have you found the editing process?


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