E is for Editing ;)

Confession: I have actually grown to love EDITING.

Yep. Hard to believe, but it’s true. When I first set out to edit my WIP after letting it stew for about 3 months, I didn’t know how to get started. I read the whole thing in one sitting, just to get a feel for the flow, and catch blatant inconsistencies (like names that got changed halfway through the writing process. The farmer’s wife couldn’t be both Susan and Lori at the same time, see.) But beyond that, I was lost. I had my colored markers ready, the printout nicely organized in my binder, and…I was watching Doomsday Preppers on TV instead of making my manuscript colorful with the highlighters. My Editor Mode was on “lazy”. Or maybe it was pointing to the  “I-have-no-clue-what-to-do” switch.

Thank heavens for my crit partner, who offered to take a look at it despite its embarrassing state. And while I cringed and did a lot of headslapping after getting her feedback (sheesh, how come I didn’t see that?? Bless her heart for slogging through the errors. Thanks, A.M.! Love ya, sis!), I was VERY grateful. Because then I had something to focus on.

Lest you fall into the same pit I was in, I’m giving you easy tips to get you started with your editing. It may not seem like a lot right now, or even a big deal, but once your editing mode gets jumpstarted, you will like–and hopefully, LOVE–editing your work. Because first drafts are just that–drafts. But a finished, highly polished manuscript will set your heart thumping at the realization that YOU DID IT. You finished something, and it is BEAUTIFUL.

So, here we go:

1. Go to FIND (in MS Word) and jot down “JUST”. Look at all the highlighted justs in your ms, and DELETE, DELETE, DELETE.

2. Do the same thing for “THAT”.

3. And “LIKE”.

4. And maybe even “ACTUALLY”.

5. Word of caution: Do not slash blindly. Take care to look at each one, and decide if they are necessary in your sentence. If not, employ the DELETE button.

6. Wipe your brow. Grab a drink. Pop a Hershey’s Kiss in your mouth–for an extra boost of sugar energy, of course.

7. Now, use the FIND feature again, and input “SEE”. If you’re writing in 1st person, you’ll soon see how much your character is seeing everything. Not needed. Just show us what he/she sees, without actually using “see”. Confused much? Don’t be.

8. Do the same for “FEEL”.

9. Again, don’t slash blindly.

10. Pat yourself in the back. You’re off to a good start.

For more awesome editing tips, check out the following links: (They are uber helpful, I promise. And much more eloquent than my own ramblings.)

Allen Guthrie’s Infamous Writing Tips

Robb Grindstaff–Book Editor: Never Use an Adverb!

Tips for Editing Your NaNoWriMo Novel (Lifehacker.com) –> Even if it’s not a NaNoWriMo novel, these are still great tips!

Peggy Eddleman: How Do You Know When Your Manuscript is Done?

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19 thoughts on “E is for Editing ;)

  1. I think if I ever get to the stage of editing (I have issues with actually finishing a project) I think I will like it. Like you said, editing is about polishing and making your story shine, get it to where it needs to be, how you have envisioned it in your head. Great post and thanks for the links πŸ™‚

  2. I like editing – especially the slash and burn type. It's fun!Now revising those plot holes that I've created along the way – slightly different story πŸ™‚

  3. LOL, I posted my E word on editing too. You can't have too much editing!I hope you are enjoying the Challenge!KarenGA to Z Challenge Host

  4. A lot of those words sneak into my novels in force πŸ™‚ I have a great editing course I follow from a writer named Holly Lisle. It breaks the whole process down really well so that my disorganized brain can wrap around it. That, and the advice of other writers is highly valuable. My story would not be where it is without suggestions from critiquers.

  5. Thanks to the loads of editing I've done in the last few years, I've come to be hyper-sensitive to words like: feel, saw, look, just, really… the list goes on and on.Also, I've come to like editing as well.

  6. You love editing… cool. πŸ™‚ Those are some very helpful editing tips. I am definitely going to save them for when I am doing some editing. I didn't even think of doing it like that. πŸ™‚

  7. I love you…have I told you that lately?!?!?! OMG! I love this post! I've never seen an editing process I thought I could use. I get so overwhelmed with everything that needs to be done. This is what I needed…step by step. You are SO awesome! πŸ™‚ Muah!

  8. If you were talking about this A.M., then you're welcome πŸ™‚ If not, that's cool too :PHee.Awesome post. I do believe I am about to slash some "that", "like", "actually", and "feels" from my own ms πŸ™‚

  9. Good tips!I'm continually adding to my list of words that I use too much, and – afterwards – filtering them out. It's a great step. Thanks for the post, and stopping by my blog!—Bonnie Gwynhttp://bonniegwyn.blogspot.com/

  10. I love editing too πŸ™‚ I love editing and I despise writing first drafts so I have to watch to make sure I'm not over-editing my stuff to procrastinate on writing a new first draft πŸ˜‰

  11. I'm definitely guilty of overusing certain words. My novel had about a million OK's in it… But I love going back into the draft and fine-tuning everything. Great post! πŸ™‚

  12. I'm knee deep in first rounds of edits.Marc does become a typo "March" sometimes, and my MC's last name changed half-way through the book – so I know what you mean!But these tips are seriously helpful, as my second edit through will be looking for these words specifically. Now I have a nice list of what to do πŸ˜‰ Thanks, heh!R.A.Desilets

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