And Let The Editing Begin!

Now that a few things have settled down, it’s time to sit my butt into my chair and begin the process of editing up the stories I currently have for my collection, Bowlful of Bunnies, as well as maybe adding a few new stories here and there when they come to me. I’m not going to worry so much about the stories until I know the ones I have are edited; I would ideally like to start pumping out a new story a day, but I know myself better than that. A new story on these days when I don’t have to go to the job that pays me, though, would be lovely. I have plenty of unfinished stuff to brush up on, so these free days that I have are going to hopefully be filled with work.

I’m getting a pretty slow start to today, but once a shower and some breakfast are taken care of, my focus can improve immensely.

This is the first time I have ever really sat down with the intention to brush up a major work for publication. I know my own editing method is pretty simple: comb through it, read some of it out-loud, cross the Is, dot the Ts, streamline some prose and straighten out some awkward sentences. I’ll eventually seek out some beta readers to catch what I don’t, but, in the meantime, I’d like to see if any of you Dear Readers have any techniques or advice for editing a major piece of work. Do you prefer quiet or music? Do recommended just driving through the task for a long period of time to just get it done, or do you like to break it down into smaller chunks of time and taking a few breathers here and there to renew yourself (I’m definitely the latter half!)? Do you have any preferred drink (coffee, tea, alcohol, the blood of young virgins) to keep you going or any snacks that are necessary fuel (chips, candy, the hearts of your enemies)? What inspires you to edit, and what advice might you pass down to others inspiring to edit?

(Edid [ha!]: I lied. This isn’t the first big project I’ve gone to editing, but the first one, I got only halfway through editing before I just decided to re-write the whole thing. …Twice.)

And, of course, what would be a post about editing without a little Regina Spektor:

Also, being in the Void Between RoWnds, I sort of forgot that yesterday was Sunday and time for a new Featured Story until I was heading out for work. So, instead, the Featured Story has been updated this morning. This is a brand new story, which is really exciting for me. It was fashioned for the contest recently run by Morgan Dragonwillow, but it was quite a bit longer than the specifications for the contest, so I just decided I’ll use it for Bowlful of Bunnies. If you get the chance to read it, it’s probably pretty unpolished because it’s a rough draft, so any comments or constructive criticism would be incredibly helpful.

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7 thoughts on “And Let The Editing Begin!

  1. Editing, Lord how I hate thee.
    Well, I try to set up my room so that it is a quiet space — I usually open the window (even though today for example its only 4 °C) so I can get some fresh air, and place all my amenities within reach (because I will take any excuse to get up and walk away from the editing). I then set myself little achievable deadlines like ‘Ok, Chapter 1 is going to be edited, and ready to sent out by noon!!’
    Have I mentioned I hate editing?

    1. I think it may have come up. 🙂

      Right now, my deadline is a short story a day, but I’d like to be able to bump it up to a few. I guess we’ll just have to see! I wish it was warm enough to open my window, too. Maybe that’s why the process has been a little off…no singing birds, warm breeze, or bright sunshine!

  2. Great post. I think I might be some freak species of writer because I actually really enjoy editing.

    It requires a different part of the brain than writing, though. It’s the science/math/logic side (I can never remember if that’s left or right), and that means you’re working with a less emotional tool. I find listening to music helps me tap into my feeling self so my edits aren’t just a series of diagnostic decisions, but tugging, heartfelt responses to something I’ve already been staring at so long I want to poke my eyes out. Not a new idea, but works for me.

    As I began the latest draft of my memoir about leaving everything behind for Bangkok, I often listened to the Dixie Chicks ‘Taking the Long Way Round.’ If you’re not writing memoir, listen to any song that reflects the scene’s primary emotion- sadness/silly happiness/nostalgia…. I promise you’ll get that ‘On a road trip let’s belt it out feeling’ that will translate into a charge on the page.

    Best,

    Natalie
    http://www.readhead.ca

    1. I enjoy it a great deal, too, so we’re in good company! I just have a problem with a horrible attention span; I can rarely spend five minutes on something without want to do something else. I like the idea of matching the editing music to the story itself, though, just like one can do with writing! I might have to definitely give that a try. Thanks, Natalie!

  3. I’m editing right now, too. I used to not mind editing, but this gnome book is killing me. It’s like I’m almost afraid of the thing. I’ve never felt that way before. LOL

    I have to have quiet when I’m writing, but when I’m editing, I can be in the same room where my husband is watching TV. As long as he’s not watching anything interesting. Then the TV starts to bleed through. It’s really best to have quiet, I guess.

    1. It’s always the ones that beat us down and leave us quaking in fear that wind up being the good ones, Lauralynn. Right? I hope so, anyway!

      Distraction with the TV on for me isn’t so much a possibility, as it is a given. That’s why I never have the TV on except in the evening when it’s okay to not be picking at my work.

  4. I usually find with editing, I have to have had some time away from it, so I can approach it with fresh eyes. Also it is not always good to rewrite as you edit, more just highlight some bits you need to go back to until you have given a whole section / chapter / similar, the read through. A part that might seem a bit naff might work in the whole or vice versa.

    Re: Regina Spektor, my wife’s sister (for reasons I won’t go into) got me a signed cd from her (she queued at Coachella to get it). It is addressed to me, but the odd thing is that Regina wrote my name in the same style that I would write it. With eerily similar handwriting, I now have a signed cd which looks like I wrote it.

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