Sunday, November 1, 2015

PNWA 2015 Workshop Review #13: The Five Stages of Editing

(Image found on:  The Smell of Books)
This "Lucky 13" workshop was the last session I attended during this year's writer's conference.  Normally, I'd try to post this within the first few weeks afterwards, but this year's fire season was a doozy.
At least I finished before the year was out.
Let's face it, every manuscript needs a little editing...

(Image, Peanuts by Charles Schulz, found on The Word Nest)

...okay, maybe lots of editing.

Anyway, this workshop was hosted by A.C. Fuller, who provided a succinct presentation on how to edit more effectively.

Editing is an essential part of the writing process, and since writing is art, and art comes from...

(This image was used by Fuller in her presentation, which I found on Passages North)
...well, never mind. 
Just remember there's no correct way to edit.
So apply what works for you.
But one of the issues that holds us back from editing our work is procrastination.  This "creative avoidance" comes in six flavors:
1. Feeling overwhelmed.
2. Feeling of rebellion.
3. Lacking motivation.
4. Fatigue, or lack of focus.
5. Fear of the unknown.
6. Perfectionism.
Fuller suggested using the following Five Stages of Editing to overcome your inner critic.
(Image found on Lighted Path Coaching)
These are:
1. Relaxing.
2. Reading.
3. Restructuring.
4. Rewriting.
5. Refining.
After the introductory material, Miss Fuller explained each stage in detail.
 1. Relaxing
Take time off from your first draft.  How much time can vary.
This will give you an opportunity to look at your work differently.
However, don't stop writing.  Just write other stuff.
2. Reading
Read your book from cover to cover.
You don't know everything on what your book is about while writing the first draft, so you could make some additional discoveries.
a. How to read your book
Read in a different format in order to trick your brain.
Read having a pen and notebook handy so you can jot down notes.
Read fast!  Don't get bogged down in editing details yet.
Be realistic about your first draft, but don't get discouraged.
b. Reading notes/what to look for--
--plot holes/info holes
--incomplete scenes
--weak characters
--scenes or chapters that are too long
--inconsistent flow of the story
--areas to improve on characters and conflict
The lowest priority at this stage is checking for typos or grammatical errors.
Also, do not try to fix anything yet, just annotate what needs fixing.
3. Restructuring
This is the most important stage.
This is where you put the book together.
a. Plan your first revision
Write a list of edits on your notes.
Organize your list of edits from the biggest issues to the smallest.
Have faith that making your edits one by one will improve your book.
b. Restructuring includes--
--Moving scenes, or changing chapters around.
--Adding/deleting chapters, or scenes.
--Rewriting characters.
--Rewriting portions of the story line.
--Significantly lengthening or shortening the story.
Keep in mind, you may have to go through this stage two, three, or multiple times.
4. Rewriting
Enlist the help of beta readers.
You want the readers to experience the flow of the story.
A common mistake is that writers often skip Stages 1, 2 and 3, and start the editing process at this stage
Try to learn your own writing tendencies.
a. Common problems, or tendencies--
--Passive voice, which leads to 15% longer sentences.
--Over use of "it was," and "there were" constructions.
--Word repetition and mixed metaphors.
--Thought repetition and redundancy.
--Telling instead of showing.
--Shifts in point of view (POV).
--Vague writing.
b. How to rewrite
--Read out loud.
--Use your computer's search function.
--Get others to read your story.
--Hire an editor.
And now we finally come to where a lot of folks think the editing process starts...
5. Refining
This is where we fix the typos, grammar, style and check for consistency.
So that's it for this year's PNWA 2015 Workshop Review. 
I hope you enjoyed these, best wishes to you and your writing endeavors!

No comments: