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  1. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    How efficiently do you edit?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Stammis, Feb 1, 2016.

    So I have written a draft and have been editing for a month now. I manage to edit about 1500 words a day and that usually takes three hours, or five hours if you including daily chores, 5-10 minute breaks and so on. It feels like it is very little and I would very much like to know how efficiently other people manage to work while editing.

    The first draft is so much easier to write, there I can sit all day and write a full sized book in about a month. The problem is also that I am improving as I write and will most definitely reedit the story several times. It feels like I will never get it done.

    The moment I posted this I realised that the first stage of editing is the hardest and that it will get progressively easier. But the first question still remain, with a added question; what do you do when you have time to spare during the day when you cannot edit anymore? Do you start a new story? do you read? do you edit another story that you work on simultaneously?
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2016
  2. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    For me it all depends on the type of edit. And how good I have managed to convey the scene. Some scenes I am through very quickly, some take two or even four passes to get right.

    Now I tend to continually edit as first draft gets written. Typically the process for me is exactly reversed: I will write a scene (or half) and when I can't manage to write further I will edit previous scenes. Until time is out. :)
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I can't recall how long it takes me to edit things - especially a novel. It seriously depends on the problems involved. I'm in the middle of a first draft novel and keeping some notes along the way as I realize some of the booboos I've been making. Some are self inflicted like changing the reason the mc is in jail, to wanting to flesh out side characters - those are content changes not simple tweaks so they could take anywhere between hours or weeks to fix.

    When I'm tired of working on my WIP, I work on other writing - a novella or a short story nothing too long term like another novel as that could really side track me. Or I read to take a break.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2016
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  4. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    How many drafts do you intend to have? If you want to do a 2nd draft and then be done with it then I can see being very thorough. For me, I know there will be more drafts down the line so right now I am reading it to see how well it reads. Do I need to make changes to the story itself? If I happen to catch any type-o's i'll fix them but that's not the prime focus at this point. For me, editing in stages seems to be working.
     
  5. nastyjman
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    nastyjman Contributing Member

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    I feel you. I'm currently writing the scene outlines for my third draft. Once I'm done with that, I'll have a working framework for my edits. I do my outlines after the fact so I can find out if a scene is working or not. Is it efficient? Not sure, but I feel like I'm slower than other writers out there because I do reverse outlines.

    As for wanting to write other than my novel, I do sneak in some short stories when I'm eating lunch at work or riding the subway. Google Docs is a godsend.
     
  6. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    I edit really slow. It's just not as exciting as writing new words and because of that I get sidetracked with other projects from time to time. I finished the rough draft of my novel last August and have been rewriting and editing it on and off since then, particularly story-related things that changed during the process of writing it. I added two chapters, added characters, made others more complex, came up with better ways scenes played out, etc and still have a ways to go on the second draft (about half done).
     
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  7. Holden LaPadula
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    Holden LaPadula Member

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    I enjoy editing nearly as much as I enjoy the writing, and the process is far more efficient than the latter. I can edit through 5,000 words a words a day, if I put my mind to it, whereas writing those words can take me nearly one month! To answer your last question, I just continue reading it. When I need a break I read through what I have already edited both for the satisfaction of my work and to ensure that I covered everything to the fullest.

    Good luck!
     
  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow. I'd lose my mind if I had to spend that long editing!

    I tend to edit as I write so my first draft is pretty close to my final draft - I usually do one sweep back over it when the first draft is done, maybe taking a few hours, and then I put it away or send it to betas and then spend maybe a day on edits when I get it back? And then when I get edits from publishers, usually a weekend for a light edit, or maybe a week if they want big changes?

    I hate editing. Once the story's out, I completely lose interest and have to force myself to do any polishing.
     
  9. Jeff Countryman
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    Jeff Countryman Living the dream Supporter

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    I think 1,500 words a day is awesome over 3-5 hours. It sets a good pace that you can maintain with breaks. Well done!!

    To answer your first question, I'm a medical editor for a huge hospital and specialize in trauma surgery/trauma team where it's always busy. Based on that, your pace is par. It says you're doing your due diligence and editing deep. Again, well done!! It takes me about 5 hours a day to edit that many words in my setting, and another 3 hours in direct conversation with the surgeons etc. who are involved to ensure an accurate medical/legal record to put in a patient's file that medical decisions (real-time patient care) will be based on.

    To answer your second question....the best advice is to do something physical in fresh air (go outside for a walk?). In my job, we're told to NOT read/research/use social media - you have to give your eyes and mind a break. Editing is intense and microscopic - time to rest. I used to write during my down time but learned that it's too much during editing - best to do something physical/outdoors then write later in the evening when I'm settled again.

    Hope that helps. You've got an awesome pace set for editing - not too much and not too little - it's on target.
     
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  10. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    I have definitely lost my mind but that was before I started writing this book. I did put it aside for most of September and didn't get into rewriting til mid October and have taken breaks to work on short stories. This is my first novel and it's an alternate universe historical science fiction with a real person as the main character so I have been doing loads of research and that did not stop during rewriting. As it is my first novel, it's also terrible so I've rewritten almost every single sentence in the first 50,000 words. I've been learning so many things along the way too that I still go back a lot and tweak things. I started the rough draft 13 months ago to the day so I'm very happy with my overall progress considering this is all new to me. So much different than a screenplay!
     
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  11. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    I feel you. I tried a tactic where I wanted to make the first chapter perfect so that I didn't have to rewrite the rest of the book more than ones, but that destroyed any sense of fun that writing had and made the text mechanical rather than personal.

    One thing that I have found that makes it easier to edit is to read a book in between. You get so much inspiration and you feel the flow from the other author that you write well yourself. It is like sprinting; I write for an half an hour until I don't feel the flow anymore, then I read for about 5-10 min (or longer) and then i start writing again, rinse and repeat.
     
  12. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Drafts of my WIP:
    • first draft - 15 days
    • second draft - no records
    • third draft - 10 days
    • fourth - 3 days
    • fifth - 39 days
    • sixth - 52 days and counting
    I started this novel on January 8th, 2015. At the rate I'm going now, I should be finished this draft in about two weeks, but then I'll be doing another polish... at least one, maybe a second.

    Yup.

    I'm usually too exhausted from editing or writing to do anything but nap.
     
  13. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I do research for the background to the next WIP, figuring out characters or setting. :)
     
  14. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Hard to say because I've only edited one novel and I had such a steep learning curve with it. I hope this one won't need more than a week or so editing once I've rested it for a bit, and then it depends on beta reading feedback how much more I need to do.
     

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