The Hell that is Editing

Posted on Posted in My Blog, Writing Tools

So hello, it’s been awhile since we last spoke but I’m still alive… Well barely, I’ve just been editing my novel so I haven’t had time to post until now. I think the main reason why it's taking so long is because my heart isn't in it. You see when I write I write for me. It almost like a form of therapy where I deal with the world and it’s problems by writing them in my book(and usually killing them off in horrifically brutal ways).

While editing, on the other hand, is writing for someone else. Where I get the reader to understand my point of view on the world and hopefully inform or inspire them to do the same. But that’s also the main reason why I’m editing my work in the first place, so it remains ‘my words’ and if I ever get a professional editor to edit them, they need to do as little as possible with it.

The downside, however, is just like this is my first novel, this is also my first time editing one as well... So I have no idea what I’m actually doing. Yeah I’m meant to be looking for grammatical errors and logical inconsistencies, but do I focus on the grammatical errors, the logical inconsistencies or both; or do I just get my work to a readable standard and let others do all the work for me. But like I said before I want my novel to be in my own words and so I've been fixing every flaw I could find throughout my 5 edits while still keeping it to my style. Anyway here's a breakdown of what each edit has been focused on so far.

1. First read through - fix grammatical errors and jot down any plot holes.
2. Fix plot holes and check for last minute grammatical errors.
3. Second read through - check for any last minute plot holes and inconsistencies.
4. Fix flow of story/style along with last minute plot holes.
5. Eliminate unnecessary words and overused phrases.

So here’s my issue, I believe I mixed up edit 4 and 5 while I should have left correcting grammatical errors for a later edit. This is mostly because the last four edit usually take on average 60 to 70 saves. But this fifth edit of mine is nearly reaching 120 saves and I’m not even halfway through. It’s literally doing my head in where I’ve spent weeks on one paragraph rewording and editing it over and over again until I'm like 'fuck this shit' and go watch cat videos on YouTube.

Until this one video of this cat falling mid-leap as it gets its back legs caught in the window frame; not only represented an analogy for my journey towards my first novel but also reminded me that I’m on the internet. So I did a google search and found some great sites dedicated to editing. One of which revealed that there’s no set list on how or what you should edit, just edit your work until you’re happy with the final product.


That’s when I realized my actual enemy in editing wasn't my lack of experience, it was my disrespect of not finding the time to gain it

I want my first novel to be done so I can start on the other stories fighting to be freed. But at the same time, I want my work to be the best that it could possibly be by my hands. I’m probably reaching the 2-year mark on my novel and I recently had a meetup with a couple of writers who are 3-4 years into their books and they haven’t even finished their first drafts yet. Instead, they've been working on the timelines within their novels, the limitations and restrictions of the powers that could affect their characters or even the political and natural climates that their fantasy world relies on.

As for me, I've just winged it until now and sorted out the important details such as timelines and characters/world attributes at a later date. This might be because my world is just a futuristic, supernatural inspired version of our current world and I have books and movies to support my thoughts. Along with the fact that I have(well, I believe I have) well-developed characters that I trust to react to a situation correctly helps. However, after my little meetup, I learned a lot about how important sorting out one's ideas was and I'll definitely be using them for this novel and for future ones to come.

But I think for now I just need to stay focused and work on editing my novel to the best of my abilities. So this might be the last you'll hear from me until I finally decide to hand my work over to a professional. But for now, I hope you guys stick with me until the end of this strange journ-

Oh by the way here's some Advice

My post seems to be more of a rant than an actually guide on editing, so I thought I'd give you guys some advice before I make my leave. One tip would be to do a google search on editing, you will find a lot of great sites like WikiHow and Writer's digest but the one I found the most useful was...

Not only did this site help me figure out how to edit, but more importantly, where to actually start as they post helpful hints on what key characteristics you and future publishers are on the look out for in your latest WIP.

Another thing you could do to help with your writing is to start or find a meetup group on Facebook or other websites dedicated to getting together with fellow writers. We may be solitary creaturess, but I've recently found out that there is nothing better than a group of newbie writers sharing their experiences and manuscripts with. They can help you find problems and solutions that we might not have realised before and a lot of us have no idea how useful that is sometimes.

Anyway, that's it from me good luck with your novels and I hope to write again soon.