1. atsgtm2018
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    atsgtm2018 Member

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    What do you look for?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by atsgtm2018, Oct 11, 2016.

    Just want to hear what you look for while editing? Obviously it varies, and everyone likes to focus on different things and everything is relatively equally important in making a good story, but if you could make checklist on what you go through while editing what would it be?
     
  2. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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  3. Luke Scott
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    Luke Scott Member

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    I look for opportunities to make the writing more concise. A simple, straight to the point sentence can often be better than flowery prose.
    I usually edit by simplifying. Not to the point where the content becomes boring though.
     
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  4. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Editing for me is in stages. When i edit the first draft/working on the second draft, I look for story content and sound. Do i need to beef up this scene? Do i need to reword this to make it sound better? Stuff like that. And as I go, i of course edit any grammatical errors but that doesnt take priority. I haven;t gotten to finishing my second draft yet so that is all I have so far.
     
  5. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Everything that could possibly be fixed/axed. Along with all the minor mistakes that should get fixed. :)
     
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  6. Albeit
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    Albeit Member

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    You know when it is right.

    Might not be what a publisher or editor thinks is right, but
    I only say this because I am not looking for a publisher.
     
  7. Kitk37
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    Kitk37 New Member

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    I look for SPAG issues, flow and pace. In my current WIP I have some sequence(plot?) issues to correct. I have been editing and revising for quite some time now. I recently gave an electronic version to my parents to read; so far I have received some positive feedback. I did this because I needed fresh eyes on it and do not have beta-readers or an editor, yet.

    I figure I am about 75% of the way there; I intend to self-publish it to Kindle. I am hoping to get it done soon because I have other projects I would like to do.
     
  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not going to deal with spelling, grammar, punctuation and sentence structure here, because other people have mentioned it. I cringe when people rely on spellcheckers and grammar checkers, though. Not only do you risk your programme getting it wrong for the context (which happens a whole lot) but it implies you can't figure this out for yourself. As a writer, you really should be able to do this kind of thing yourself. But anyway....

    What you should focus on are story issues. The best way to do that is to take a good LONG break. Not a week or so, but at least a month or even longer, if you can. Wait till you've almost forgotten what you wrote. Then pick it up and read it from start to finish.

    I'd also warn to not try to cover ALL the story issues in one go. You'll need to re-read your story more than once, to do a good edit. So concentrate on one or two of them at a time.

    Are there any passages you're tempted to skip? (Of course there are!) Mark them, but keep reading. When you go back later to re-read them, do you find them interesting after all? In other words, is it the transition between passages that needs work? Or is the pacing wrong? (You've moved from intense action to a very slow and reflective bit of the story, without preparing the reader for this change.) Or is the entire passage a waste of space?

    Are there any parts of the story that make you go huh? and force you to re-read them to recapture the gist of what’s going on? Mark these parts. These spots will definitely need re-writing! This is especially crucial when it comes to dialogue. Make sure you've included enough dialogue tags or beats, so the reader never gets confused about who says what.

    Within your own field of expertise, can you spot any glaring errors in your research? Have you done anything which is not possible, or created any anachronisms? Or any areas where you have questions along those lines? Mark these, and double-check your facts when you've finished the re-read. (And ask your beta readers to do the same. This is something that's hard to do for yourself.)

    Spot continuity errors. For example, if it takes 2 hours to ride between point A and point B, it better take 2 hours throughout the novel ...not suddenly become 45 minutes on the same horse, several chapters later. Or minor character ‘Fred’ in Chapter Three becomes ‘Amos ‘ in Chapter Twenty. That kind of goof can be extremely embarrassing to discover when it’s ‘too late’ to change.

    Once you're finished with the rewrite, and have either corrected or marked any of these basic mistakes you found, take another bit of a break and think about the following topics.

    Do you still find the beginning of the story interesting? Does it launch the reader in the right direction, or does it contain material that's less important than you thought it was when you began the writing?

    Have you wasted time with the POV character (who is slim, around 5'2, with eyes of blue, curly blonde hair and a wart on the end of her nose) getting out of bed in the morning, looking in the mirror, brushing her teeth, taking a shower, putting on her makeup, getting dressed in bra, underpants, tights, medium heeled brown shoes, a white blouse, brown skirt and red blazer, going downstairs, making toast and drinking coffee from a red mug, checking her emails, then stepping outdoors, locking the front door, opening the garage, starting up her duck-egg blue Corsa, backing out of the garage, closing the garage door and driving ten miles to work—to discover her boss is lying dead on the office floor with a knife stuck in his back, which, of course, is where the story should have begun?

    Personally, I find that beginnings usually change the most of all the parts of my story during an edit. I learn so much about the characters and the story as I go. This means the story's start is often replete with unnecessary information that worked to get your writing off the ground, but the reader doesn't actually need to read. Beginnings are also often 'out of date.' Update yours, if you find that's the case.

    Did you remain interested throughout the story? Are there places where the whole thing became a bit of a slog to read through? Are there parts which seem repetitive? Parts that need more development? Did you find some parts irritate you as you read? Any parts that leave nagging doubts? Can you think of any way to improve these parts?

    Does the ending still satisfy you? Did you tie up all the loose ends and bring all your story arcs to a conclusion? Have you dropped people who were important at the start of the story but then just disappeared with no personal resolution? Are there any issues which you introduced, but didn't resolve? (But what happened to...? But how come he...? Etc.)

    These are the sorts of things to note during your edit. See what you can do to resolve all these issues as well as you can.

    THEN give your story to your first beta, and work from there.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2016
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  9. TheWriteWitch
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    TheWriteWitch Senior Member

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    Check for inconsistencies and the physical movements of the characters. I tend to jump over things like this and focus on the plot first time around, so it's good to reread purely for setting and 'world' issues.
     
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  10. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    The main thing I look for when editing is clarity. Clarity in each sentence. Clarity with the story. With the voice. It's really the only thing I actually look for. I find focusing on that takes care of just about everything else.
     
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  11. Pauline
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    Pauline Member

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    What jannert says. Except for the brown skirt and red blazer. I'd definitely want to read why someone wore that LOL.
     
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  12. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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  13. Crybaby
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    Crybaby Contributing Member

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    Too funny!
    I found all of what you said very helpful.
     

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