1. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    How to edit

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Rumwriter, Mar 14, 2012.

    How do you edit? I find that when I go through and find passages I don't like, or sentences that need to be revised or/scratched out completely, it can lead to a lot of clutter in my word document, and sometimes I lose track of what I want, what I don't want, how I'm going to rewrite things, etc. Do you guys have any tricks? Or do you just trek through the clutter?
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It sounds like you're tracking changes, when you talk about clutter in your word document. I don't do that. If I'm worried that I might prefer an older version, I'll hang on to an older version of the entire document, but I can't imagine doing change tracking on my own writing. I just change it at will.
     
  3. MsScribble
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    MsScribble Member

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    I take a copy of what I'm working on and edit that.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Take pride in your clutter! Who gives a crap about how cluttered your Word doc is? Keep clean prints of all your versions. Rework all you need to and print again. I rewrite a ton between the first draft and the last, adding not only paragraphs, but often whole scenes, each time. I also wind up deleting what I find I don't need. I usually do this by hand, using different colors of pen, and my drafts wind up looking beautiful, like works of abstract art in themselves.

    Bottom line: make your last draft good. It doesn't matter how cluttered your earlier drafts are. Just make sure the last one is good.
     
  5. Rumwriter
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    Rumwriter Active Member

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    I'm not worried about how my drafts look during revision. I worry about how disorganized it can become. I'm wondering how to be more efficient with editing
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Enter an editing pass with a plan, and stick to it. And if you are having problems with it getting out of control, edit in a strict pass - once you edit a section, move on to the next one, and don't backtrack. You can start another edit pass after you finish the current one.

    When I refer to a plan, it could be as simple as "I'm going to only clean up dull dialogue in this pass." Or it could be a printed out manuscript hemorrhaging with editing notations in red ink. The latter may make you cringe at the "waste" of paper, but it truly is worth the sacrifice.

    With or without a plan, fix spelling or punctuation glitches immediately.
     
  7. K. A. Solo
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    K. A. Solo Member

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    I don't know if this will help you, but when I do an edit, I just enter several blank lines where I want to add any new thoughts or passages. I place the new text in the middle of that blank area, then I cut and paste and blend it into the rest of the text around it. When I see blank lines in my document, I know that's an area that's under revision, and it's all straight in my mind. The clutter is kept to a minimum.
     
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  8. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    If I'm understanding correctly, Cogito's is the most common sense approach. Take it piece by piece. I would suggest, keep a list of things you see that you want to fix. Even if you're focusing on one aspect, you'll catch something else, take note and put it aside.

    Personally, I like the chaos of all the notes and suggestions and just everything I put down. If it's on the computer, I just use the comment option and track changes in word and color code things. On paper, I love red ink and will have pages with nothing but red writing in boxes and arrows from where I ran out of room. Though, I always have a list in a separate document, sometimes multiple lists but something that I can use to keep track of what I want to do and what needs to be done that is right there for me to glance at and collect my thoughts.
     
  9. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I find it really helpful to break down my story into scenes, with a quick one-line of each scene followed by key information/ scene analysis/ scene summary, etc. This helps me know which scenes are stronger and which need more work. For example:

    1) Guy walks into the bar
    ...a) Character motivation: To get drunk
    ...b) New information: The new bartender is a beautiful woman

    and so forth.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    One advantage of doing a couple of rewrites from scratch is the big picture edit is almost none existence. A slight tweak occasionally, but the plot and characters are usually very consistent.

    After that I open a seperate word file, and copy and paste a paragraph or section of dialogue at a time into it. Work on that until it is perfect and then place it back into the document. I find it works well if I have the font and font colour different to the work in progress itself.
     
  11. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    When (if) I edit I like to print the thing out, provided it's not too long. It really helps to see things in print (heh) and I can more easily reference another part of the story, and I keep nice big margins and revile my mistakes in elegant language.
     

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