Final-ish Decisions

If you've been the blogosphere for, I don't know, a couple of days, you realize that there are a million and one viewpoints on editing. Some people hate it, some people love it. Some people edit as they go and finish with an awesome book. Some people write a draft in a day and spend months on the editing.

I do them all. Every time I sit down to write, I review what I wrote the day before. I tweak some sentences. But I don't do anything major.

It's after the draft(s) is(are) accomplished that I actually edit majorly. I read through and make notes {thanks OpenOffice, though I hear Word does that, too}. Notes like, "Where did that character come from? You're just now mentioning her dad? Really? For the last time, figure out if it was a gun or a knife, because this is ruining every flashback.}

And the thing is, when you're drafting, you can do that. You can switch from gun to knife to rope to wrench. But when you're editing, you can't. You have to make decisions. You have to start at the beginning and figure out if it was a candlestick or a poisoned apple. And if it was a poisoned apple, you have to introduce the witch.

So, for me, and maybe for no one else, editing {after the draft(s)} is almost-but-not-quite rewriting. It's not rewriting, because the plot is in place, and the words are in place, and the grammatical structure is more or less set in stone. But you have to put your foot down and say, "Death by lightsaber!"

And then work from there.

Editing = important {and final-ish} decisions.

How do you edit once you've written the draft(s)? Do you still have plot decisions to make??


Shelley Sly said...

I'm like you in that I review what I previously wrote before settling in and writing the next part. There's so much to editing. I think some people (non-writers, mainly) think that you write, then you edit (or just proofread for spelling) and then you're done, but there is so much work into editing! Whole scenes and characters can be added or taken away. It's a huge thing. ;)

lbdiamond said...

Editing is where it's at. After I write a draft, I print out the MS and write all over it the things I want to change. Then I let it sit and cure for a while to go back to it later with fresh eyes.