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One writer's editing journey

I love reading blog posts about an author's editing journeys. I read them to discover tips or receive affirmation that I'm on the right track. I've just finished reading one by Dee Scribe Writing and I'm happy to say that this is how I conduct my editing process.

Liar. I'm right now editing my current novel and... well, actually, I'm not RIGHT NOW editing because I'm writing this post. (A minute's silence). I'm back. Just went off to switch on the kettle. So technically I'm still not RIGHT NOW editing my current novel. Hang on a's staring at me like she wants me to walk her.

I can't help but love the distractions that editing presents because I have come to accept that editing is loathsome work. It's not fun, it's methodical. It uses the right side of the brain instead of the creative side. It's process driven and therefore boring. Why can't I just have this wonderful idea in my head magically morph into a 100,000 words novel and I come in at the end to do the final read, which is my favourite bit.

To help me while editing, this is what I write at the beginning of my manuscript to keep me on track: 

Editing rounds

1.      Dialogue – 1st person, present tense, internal narrative, dialogue

2.      Backstory – put dot points and quotes at the start of each chapter – don’t take allex out of character while he’s inside.

3.      More action – killings, shootings, sieges, fires in the hives, bombings, planes

4.      Descriptions – build the world, add in the future, hair, houses, cars, giant screens

5.      Dialogue action

6.      Weapons – give them unique names i.e metal walkers for the MGU mobile gun units

7.      Taboo words

8.      Chapter beginnings and endings

9.      The final read
This is what actually happens:

Editing rounds

1.      Make lots of cups of coffee and tell myself that getting up and down all day is exercise

2.      Search on line for things and tell myself that I need things to ward off insanity

3.      Consider hiring a ghost writer and tell myself that I will be presenting a solution to the world’s unemployment problem

4.      Read emails and post stuff on Facebook, and tell myself that I should be writing so that when I strike it rich I can afford to hire an admin person who can read emails and post stuff on Facebook

5.      Set myself a daily word limit and then feel bad when I don’t meet it because of too many distractions

6.      Buys more books and tell myself that reading will help with writing only once I pick up a book that’s it, I’m done for

7.      Start at the end of the manuscript and tell myself that working my way backwards might stimulate the right side of my brain

8.      Write a hundred blurbs because they stimulate the right side of the brain

9.      Get grumpy and tell myself that if I’m grumpy enough people might leave me alone so I can do editing

As I said earlier, my favourite part of editing is the final read. This is where all the hard work has been done and I'm only looking to tweak a few things that stand out as odd. This is where I am one step closer to the reader. It's their reaction I'm waiting with bated breath for. Until this final stage, the manuscript and the reader never get to meet.

I'm at step 1 - dialogue - and the second after I down my second cup of coffee for the morning, I am going to lock myself in a tower with no internet access or books or coffee pots or phones and get cracking with the editing.

Wish me luck!


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

Contact information

Twitter    !/DLRichardson1


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