Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On editing

I'm busily editing P & P, start to finish at the moment, having received comments from two out of three beta-readers. Chapter 27 is still a mess, but I have a solution to it (after 5 failed attempts. I owe you M, for continuing to challenge me on every re-write) I think. I'm going to take a stab at actually writing it tonight, and see where I get to.

I know a lot of writers hate revising; others love it. I'm fairly ambivalent to it, in general. It's one of those things that has to be done. It's not as exciting as writing a first draft, just letting the ideas flow out of you in a rush, but it can be inspiring. Often whole new scenes come to me when I'm revising, things that make the story that much better. Other times, I see things I need to take out and wonder why I ever put them in there in the first place.

I also notice how often the same words or phrases come into my work. Is it okay to keep them there? Clearly this is part of my own personal style. But then again, repetition isn't a good thing in writing. I think a happy balance between the two may be the best idea there.

How do you revise? I keep experimenting with different approaches to it. With P & P, the whole writing experience has been so different to my usual one, I have decided to approach editing differently too. I actually have a paper copy of the whole book and am going through with a red pen. Usually I do this chapter by chapter over a matter of days. Doing it all in one blast is making me far more aware of my repetitions and other quirks. I'm also very aware of how engaging the story is, how easy it is to read and get absorbed in. I wrote the damn thing, yet I still find myself getting carried away with the story, wanting to turn the next page to see what happens next.

I think that's a good thing, right?

1 comment:

  1. That's awesome that you're still swept up in the story - and a very good sign. I haven't tried the printed copy/red pen approach in a long time. I don't know how much my printer would hate me for it, but it might be worth a shot.

    I'm one of those who's not too fond of revisions. Editing, not a big deal. Fixing story problems - a bigger deal. For me it's because the rush was in telling the original story. Once I get it on paper, I've sated the biggest demon. But my newest approach seems to work better than past attempts. I don't pull up the original document and edit in that, I pull up a new blank document. I get the revised scene in my head, and I only copy and paste things from the original that I want to keep. I make myself rewrite the rest from scratch. So far I think it's working...i think ;-)

    Good luck with the revisions.