1. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    How many times do you edit your work

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cazann34, Apr 13, 2013.

    How many times do you edit your work before posting it for critique on this site? I ask this because I have come to the conclusion that I don't edit my work enough before posting. I think I'm still wearing the rose coloured specs and I don't see the obvious flaws in my work.

    I am also interesting in hearing about the editing techniques you use. Is there a set routine you follow? Do you concentrate on story first, then sentence structure, word choice then punctuation? How do you edit?

    Thanks in advance. I'm trying to get a handle the best technique to use to improve my editing skills.
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I write my first draft first (obviously), then I wait maybe two to three weeks before writing my second draft. Once that is complete, I print the work off and edit it so I can catch mistakes I wouldn't normally see on a computer, then the third draft, then if needs be I make another draft once other people have read it.

    A long process maybe, but it works for me. :)
     
  3. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    bored sh**less editing... and editing... and editing...
     
  4. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I edit as I go. Nothing posted on this site - have my betas who check chapter by chapter.
     
  5. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    My technique: Write the story. Don't break for editing, which I used to do. Go back over after an hour or two. Go back over it again. Show it to my brother or mom. Listen to feedback. Sometimes edit it again. Then post.

    This is somewhat different than my editing process for longer works like a novella or my novel (which I hate editing!!!!!) For the longer projects, I'll wait a bit to give myself some distance, then I'll go back over it meticulously, sometimes keeping notes. (I'm doing that for my novel and so far the notes are 20 pages long . . . I'm not even halfway into the novel).

    Read aloud when you edit.

    Also, the reason you fell you're not editing enough is probably because there are certain flaws that we make that none of us notice no matter how much we go over a story. Trust me, we've all been there. Also, posting stuff in the workshop gives you a myriad of different viewpoints and opinions, so of course you're bound not to notice some of the stuff people suggest -- you're a different person with a different personality and view the world through different templates and value certain writing styles higher than others.

    Hope that helped.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I edit as I go, as well. By the time I have a first draft complete, it's all been edited quite a bit. Then I keep going over it, spotting things I should change here and there, but it's hard to say these are separate drafts. I just keep fiddling with it until I'm done fiddling. I wind up with a story comprised of two drafts of the first scene, four of the second, three of the third, five of the fourth, etc. Defining a draft of the whole thing becomes impossible.

    You could say that I edit the story once, starting when I write the first word of the story and ending when I submit it.
     
  7. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Have you tried printing it out? Reading it out loud? These methods help you catch a lot of things you would otherwise miss. Also, it's good to let it sit at least a few days and come back to it with fresh eyes.

    But really, the main reason you want to give it to others to critique is because they'll see things you missed no matter how many times you edit.
     
  8. blackstar21595
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    blackstar21595 Contributing Member

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    at least 10 drafts before I post it for critique. But for the most part, I edit to the best of my ability. I always look back on other critiques of mine so I don't repeat old mistakes.
     
  9. JayClassical
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    JayClassical Member

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    Until its good. End of thread >.< :D
     
  10. jeepea
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    jeepea Member

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    I can write up to twenty drafts of a short story. These are not complete rewrites, but most drafts are markedly different than previous versions. In my writing, I often make big plot or character changes when I edit, which is why I need so many drafts. For novels, I'm working on a book now that I've written from scratch three times. I'm finally satisfied with this third version and have begun to edit it in earnest. I foresee three or four deep rewrites.
     
  11. SIDunbar
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    SIDunbar Member

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    Shorter process

    A lot of people commented about pausing to edit as you go along, which I've done.

    I also wrote a 40k word novel in a month. A hero of mine passes away, and I needed to flush out my feelings, so I sat in a closet under the stairs for 4-6 hours a day and closed myself off to the world to write.

    I didn't edit until the novel was finished. I let myself write freely, without filter, and it really opened up a natural flow. Then I had to spend another month 2-4 a day editing, which wasn't so bad because it was exciting to read the work for the first time. The good was GOOD and the bad I tossed/reworked. It made the whole process a labor of creative love.
     
  12. reviloennik
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    reviloennik Member

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    As you will have worked out by now, just keep re-reading and polishing it until you think it's ready to post. After that, you'll continue to edit and polish and continue that way until the publishing deadline looms... and then you edit some more until your publisher threatens to pay you no more... or something. :)

    ----------
    http://reviloennik.blogspot.com/
     
  13. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That. I think me and KaTrian are on our... umpteenth draft. I don't know, it's in the double digits anyway. Once we're done with the first draft, we start over again, wearing just the editor's hat, and just edit the crap out of it. At times we've cut thousands of words in one go, at times added a few. Of course we weed out obvious mistakes (punctuation, grammar, typos) the best we can, but when you have a high word count, some mistakes inevitably slip through the cracks. So we catch them the next time around and the time after that. But I digress: bored sh**less editing... and editing... and editing...
     
  14. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I agree with SIDunbar that it's important not to edit while you write your rough draft. Just sprint to the finish by any means necessary. Getting to the end makes your story much clearer and easier to edit.

    For me, I've rewritten my story about 6 times. My pattern has been thus: I sprint to the end, make a bunch of edits, redraft it a few times, and then have a major brainstorm of a new direction to tell the story in a more effective way. It's typically so different that my next re-write is a rough draft again. Each time, I have to remember not to edit until I've finished the story, or I would go crazy and not ever finish at all.
     
  15. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    To answer your original question, I keep editing until I'm as happy as I'm going to get without a lengthy break from it.

    I'm one of those people who try to write the entire story before editing. When I open my Word doc I scroll to the end, only allowing myself to go back a paragraph or two. My current story has a different ending than it did originally and I know there are pieces that don't fit anymore. I will go back to those on the next round of edits.

    .
     
  16. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I tend to edit as I go - holding out through a scene before I'm tempted to go over it.
    Edits I usually do are metaphors that don't ring right, a word choice I'm not satified with, a
    funky sentence that doesn't sound right. Too many adjectives or the wrong adjectives.
    Splitting long sentences into short ones. Cutting something I like but doesn't work.

    Since some of my short stories have no rhyme or reason when they start, just a vague idea,
    I can wind up writing dead ends that need to be clipped and the story direction changed.

    Rewrites include -replacing a story direction, fleshing out a scene if the character's mood, goal, frame of mind isn't clear
    or if there's some doubt about the location. Adding more dialogue - or changing something into dialogue.

    Basically I go slowest method possible - sentence by sentence if something isn't clearly stated in an
    interesting way - then I work on it. If it's too busy, I trim it. If it's too boring, I jazz it up.

    Each story has up to overall - 7 edits. The worst was my short story Optical Meltdown - 9 edits.
     
  17. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    It depends on the project. Some projects I will edit it to within an inch of its life other times I will just give it a small amount of editing.
     
  18. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm never satisfied. I edit until someone rips it out of my hands and either tells me it's done or tells me it'll never work, start something else.
     
  19. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    Tbh, not enough, i must do more, and i must chase the beta reader for some info too, i cant really edit without feedback
     
  20. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Shoot for 100%, be satisfied with 80%.
     
  21. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    How many times do you edit your work?

    A gazillion.
     
  22. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    I continue to edit until I can read the entire chapter (I usually write and edit by chapter) through without making one change correction. Then I'm done. At that point, I'll give it to someone else to read it for punctuation, missed words, homophones, etc. Then I'll go back and make those changes and give it another read. If I want to change something, then I keep reading it again, over and over, until I can read it through again and not make a change. Then I will give it to someone else to read for punctuation, missed words, etc., again.

    The problem is, sometimes I'll make changes, then forget I made them and not re-read that part of the story to make sure I didn't drop words while editing. SO when I end up posted it, the errors still show up here and there.
     
  23. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    This is incredibly accurate for me. It is also a problem I have with my art. I always feel there is room for improvement and more to learn. I usually edit as I go. I don't really have a system for it. I reread it periodically and go back and fix continuity errors or restructure sentences I don't like. I often wind up taking out big chunks of it and rewriting the parts to bridge what's left. It's very difficult for me to stop editing something.
     
  24. TechnoGoth
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    TechnoGoth Member

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    I finish the first draft before I do any editing. Then it's as many time as it takes. At least 1 or 2 reviews to make structural changes, and then at least 1 more proofreading pass. Before I show it to anyone.
    After that it will depend on the response I get from the readers.
     
  25. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    Keep in mind, editing is far more than just cutting words. Rearranging chapters, cutting some and combining others are also a major part of editing because it helps your story flow better. I'm 'hard copy' editing my novel for my second draft and have cut enough words and streamlined enough so far that I've been able to introduce a secondary story that's running separate from the main plot. (On is over 100k years in the past from the story happening now, thus the ability to run them concurrently.)

    Content editing is the hardest part of the process because that's when you have to 'trim the fat' and remove things that flat out don't work. That could mean cutting a chapter here or there or, in my case killing ten so far, combining two smaller ones into a larger chapter. That's a decision that's strictly up to the author.
     

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