Better Words: Brief Thoughts on Editing

Have I ever mentioned how much I enjoy the editing process? Actually, yes, I have, back when I was at this same stage as my first novel. I don’t have much to add to that post except perhaps experience.

To be clear, when I talk about editing in this case I am including revision and fine-tuning rather than just proofreading, which is why it’s pretty enjoyable. I don’t really mind editing typos and commas and so forth, but if that were ALL I was doing, then that would get pretty drab pretty quickly.

The editing stage is exciting. It means I have a completed draft of a story, which is a rather cool thing in the first place. What happens in the editing stage can be transformative, though. The mundane gets deleted, the decent stuff gets a boost, and finally, NEW material gets added. I’m always a little bit leery of adding because since I haven’t sold any books yet, I’ve become a bit sensitive about wordcount. However, new words are almost always better words and since I’ve cut in other areas, it’s all a better piece of writing.

I spend a lot of time in the first draft stage trying to get things right. So many writers out there will say that’s ridiculous, just get the draft done and worry about it all sounding great, later. I’ve tried, I really have, but I cannot seem to quite change my ways. This being the case, to say that editing makes something even better than it was makes me extremely happy.

Is it all glamour, to me, this editing stage? No. A friend of mine sent me this link: Writers Behaving Badly and it’s not really the best title for the post because it only highlights the idea of word choice – and when we use some words too often. It is an entertaining glimpse into our favorite phrases or our failed efforts at trying to be creative. Sometimes when I am working hard to avoid boring words or cliché phrases, I overuse the alternative.

I think in this draft I did pretty well, but in the process of reading through my friend’s line edits, she found many of my supposed favorite words, which helped me find still others that she didn’t even necessarily notice. So. Just. Even. Expelled (wanting to replace “sigh). When I look at my text analytics for the manuscript now? Lots of those uses – GONE. *Sigh*, I just can’t even tell you how it is all so much better now. (See what I did there?)

At first, the idea of editing intimidates me, and then I dig in and get re-immersed and I remember how much I love it.

What kinds of things do you enjoy in the editing stage? 

See I’m all about them words
Over numbers, unencumbered numbered words
Hundreds of pages, pages, pages for words
More words then I had ever heard and I feel so alive

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3 Responses to Better Words: Brief Thoughts on Editing

  1. Jen (@JSQ79) says:

    I love editing too. It’s like de-cluttering, but for novels, and you know how much I enjoy de-cluttering.

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  2. did you state what supposed favorite word your friend found? Did I miss it? In addition to your comment about authors having a favorite word, I have a mini-informal list of words or topics that show up in darn near every book I read. “Padded” as in she padded to the bathroom or padded into the kitchen. Another one is bougainvillea. I had never heard of that plant name until I started reading a lot and most books reference it at some point which I find interesting. And now not so common anymore now that her show has ended but many books have had at least one reference to Oprah. I used to think two things about that; 1) Oprah only picked books for her book club if they mentioned her in it; and/or 2) authors included her name in their book in hopes that she would. So just sigh even!

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  3. sandysnavely says:

    The books that have helped me more than I can express are – The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction, by Jeff Gerke, and Writing Lessons from the Front, by Angela Hunt. These are the go to’s and must have’s that I refer back to over and over again. Love and joy, Sandy Snavely. http://www.sandysnavely.net

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