All Part of the Process

I’m sorry I haven’t posted in a bit. I’ve been editing my book. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but editing is a pain and a process. It is not fast. I’m up to page 200, which is great. What’s not so great is I have to do major revisions from this point forward.

I do a lot of research on how to write and best practices. I also talk to other authors. What I’ve found is everyone I’ve talked to has agreed that editing is unpleasant. When writing you are letting your creative muse run free. It can be difficult, and you can freeze or run into writer’s block. But it uses your creative side of your brain.

When editing, you are using a different part of your mind. And it isn’t a simple one-and-done process. You read the story, making notes on where it slows down, inconsistencies, and issues. What I mean by slow down is you are reading, and you get bored and feel like you are wading through mud. If you feel that way, the story has no action, no tension or conflict in that part and it needs to be fixed.

The story should move from point to point to point, making the reader eager to turn the page to see what happens next. If it slows down, the reader is more likely to put down the book and not pick it up again. Those parts must be fixed. As the author, you have to figure out how it’s broken. Is it too much telling and not enough showing? Do you need more dialogue?

Once the parts that need to be fixed are identified, next you go through and work on fixing those inconsistencies and slow downs. You also have to keep your eyes open for typos and misspellings.

Some authors can go through and do one set of revisions and send it off. From what I’ve read, there aren’t many of those. Most take multiple revisions. After you revise the first time, you will go back and do it again. This time you make sure your changes didn’t create issues. Then you might go through a third time simply looking for grammar issues. Next it gets sent off to the editor, and you will have changes your editor wants, too. All is part of the editing process.

I used to wonder why authors couldn’t put out more books in a year. Some, like Nora Roberts, are able to do several. Others do two, and some only put out a book a year or every other year. With as much time as writing takes, followed by editing, I understand why two a year seems the norm (at least for the authors I read). This doesn’t factor in issues from publishers (which is a totally different topic).

Someone said if editing was easy, everyone would have a book written. I have to agree. But, like the dishes or laundry, the editing won’t do itself, so back to the book I go.