1. huskies
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    huskies Member

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    Editing! where to begin

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by huskies, Apr 11, 2015.

    So i have nearly finished my first draft of my very first novel.

    I have just started reading it back and it needs a lot of work. There is many inconcistances and things i want to change a little, especially the start.

    I just don't know where to start, do i just go through it and delete and re write as i go? or should i re write it and copy and paste the good bits in?

    Any suggestions welcome.
     
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    I know sometimes it can be useful to have the first draft open, reread it, pick what you liked and what you didn't think worked or needs improving.
    Then rewrite it all alongside it.

    Some just edit mistakes, improve paragraphs, and clean everything up.

    I think it depends on style and skill level, really.
    Odds are, a more experienced writer will have less need to rewrite everything than a new writer, right?

    So, just use all your knowledge and work it one page a time until it's as good as you can make it.
     
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  3. Tim3232
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    Tim3232 Active Member

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    Keep what you have as version 1 and start version 2 first.
     
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  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I usually copy and paste the draft into a new doc. I rename the old doc draft one and then I rewrite on the copy of the old draft. That way I can keep all the sentences I like. I don't ditch everything.

    But first I set it aside. Read it all the way through ( aloud ) making notes on pieces of paper with the notes organized by each chapter. Than I go over what plans I want to do with what. For instance if I want to move scene b in chapter 3 into chapter 2 then I cut and paste the scene into the area where I think it would fit ( making a small note where it used to be on the computer draft. )
     
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  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're looking at significant changes, I'd follow a process pretty close to peachalulu's, I think.

    Write an outline of what you've got now, and then figure out what's going to stay, what's going to go, and what's going to be rewritten. Making the manipulations at the outline level makes it a lot tidier and easier to see how things connect - kind of like an aerial view of a forest, where you need the distance in order to get a sense of the whole instead of being blinded by all the individual trees.

    Definitely make sure you're saving your drafts in separate files. I have a bad habit of making changes all in the same document version and then realizing I shouldn't have changed something and having to rewrite it instead of just reverting to an earlier version. Sloppy waste of time - bad me.

    If your changes are mostly cosmetic, though, then, sure, just start at the beginning and work through to the end. Some people like to print out a paper copy at this stage, but I prefer to keep things on the computer so I can make changes as I go. I usually change the font and font size, though. Weird as it sounds, it seems like just that little change can help me see things with fresh eyes.
     
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  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I usually start by looking at the big picture: The over all story, is it working, does it make sense, are you happy with the way it develops? Do you need to add or remove scenes/chapters or characters?

    When I've done the big changes I open up a new document, and copy/paste one or two paragraphs at a time into the new one, then start working with them, add more text if necessary, rephrase things, make the sentences flow better, correct little errors like typos, work on language, and all other kind of changes you might have to make.

    I go through the whole ms that way, and when I'm done I have the next draft in the new document. I do a few more rounds until I'm happy with it. At some point I ask people to read it for feedback, but not until I think it's the best I can do on my own and I'm confident with showing it to others.

    When they've had their say I do a few more rounds to correct according to their comments. Last thing I polish it, make sure there are no (well, there are always a few, I guess) typos, etc. I look for "favourite words" and try to eliminate as many as I can, other words that can be written in different ways (in swedish there are a few) to make sure I'm consistent. And I guess that's it. It usually takes me longer to revise and edit that it takes me to write the first draft, but I actually LOVE this part! :)
     
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  7. tonguetied
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    tonguetied Contributing Member Contributor

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    I may never get as far as you have with my first novel, but if I were in your shoes I would probably want to write out a list of things I was dissatisfied with in the first version. I would consider how to improve those points, then, depending on how radically I needed to change things I would either copy the manuscript to a new file and start changing it, or start a new version and simply save the original in a way not to confuse myself which is which, such as to a thumbdrive that is safely set aside. I wouldn't call it a first draft until I was generally satisfied that it seemed good; even with a short story in first draft status for me ends up with lots of changes. Good luck and congratulations on getting close to that first draft goal.
     
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  8. InsecureHeroine
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    InsecureHeroine New Member

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    Edits are difficult. I especially have trouble because I read things the way I meant to write them, rather than the actual words I've put down. BUT I've found a great duo of independent editors who can help with structure, copyediting, and story development. They have prices listed on their website, but if you haggle just a bit, you can get better deals. If you guys want to check it out, the prices are listed at EditIndie.com

    How much time do you all take between writing and editing to "refresh" your brain?
     
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  9. United
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    Yup. When editing/revising, go back to the beginning, read through it, and make your revisions as you go.

    Are you familiar with George Orwell's Six Rules of writing? Those are good guidelines to follow when revising.
     
  10. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    id say stepping away from the work for a few weeks after you finish writing would help here. Its hard to read something the way you meant to write it when you no longer remember the exact phrasing you were looking to use. A month to clear your head, and when you come back you will get a much more truthful look at their piece and what edits need to be made.
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    The longer the better, for me. I usually manage about three months, but a few times I've gone way longer and it's been really good.
     
  12. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I went about six months and I was blown away at the clarity I had when revisiting. The story was still good, but the most obvious problems were crying for help.
     
  13. huskies
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    huskies Member

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    Thank you for all the replies. I really pleased with where i am at the moment, it has taken a little longer than i would of liked but life ( a good life) has got in the way. I am finding it really daunting the editing process, i wrote it from start to finish with no note at all so there are lots of inconcitance.
     
  14. Cheyenne
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    Cheyenne Member

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    First step, read it through. Keep another notebook or file on the side. Note down everything wrong, every inconsistency you notice.

    Just focus on plot issues for the moment, don't worry about spelling errors or anything small.
     
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  15. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    Ok guys, I'm gonna do something I don't do normally and divulge my tried and true editing process.

    Ok

    Step 1.) cut a hole in the box
    Step 2.) put your ....

    Wait that's the wrong process. So then what's the right one? Hmmmmm, Oh yes! I remember now!

    Step 1.) collect underpants
    Step 2.) ???
    Step 3.) send your perfect manuscript to a publisher
    Step 4.) profits!!!!

    Use it as you will
     
  16. JetBlackGT
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    JetBlackGT Contributing Member

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    I save the old file as a new one like [first novel edit 1]. Then I always have the original as well as the edits.

    Every week as I write, I change the name to [first novel week 3] or whatever. On a thumb drive or in the cloud, words take up very little space. You can get a couple of 300,000 word books in a single megabyte so storage should never be an issue. :)

    Editing is where the magic happens! That's where your story becomes a novel. Every edit will bring you closer to the final draft which should blow your reader's minds when they read it. You can add foreshadowing, humor, tragedy and glory. Things you might have missed on the initial writing phase.
     
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