The Dreaded Editing

       Everyone is familiar in some variation of editing for a second draft.  If you have any level of education, you have had to write something at some point.  In the process of writing, first you organize your ideas, second you get it on paper, and finally you have no choice but to go back and make your work have some sort of sense and correlation.  Most people dread this final process because not only can it be boring, but it is also very humiliating.  You have to come to the realization that you are not the writing god/goddess that you believed you were while vomiting out your first draft.  There are also those rare specimens, me included, who actually love editing, and relish fixing every detail of their work and having other people tear it to shreds, so it can be transformed into a beautiful butterfly. Yes the process is painful, but it is so worth it.

       Now that I have reminded you how painful and humiliating this process is and why it is a necessity, we will discuss how to climb this mountain of editing.

      The first step to take, is to accept the fact that 99 percent of your work has to be at least adjusted in some way.  The most basic part of your storyline is really the only thing that is set. Even major scenes and character plots could need to be changed during the editing process. So take a deep breath, and get that hard truth in your head.

     The second step is to find yourself some good editing partners.  Send them your book, and give them the permission to tear it to shreds.  No one is going to be better at noticing problems than your friends.

     Finally, create or find a long and very detailed editing checklist. I think mine is about twenty pages long all together because I have different checklists I go off of.  Your checklist should edit from the most basic to the most detailed level. From book to chapter, to scene, to paragraph, to every word.  The word part may sound a bit far fetched, but the truth is that is one of the most fundamental parts of the editing process. If a word is not completely necessary, it needs to be cut or replaced. Adjectives and ly words especially need to be reconsidered because if you have a strong noun there is rarely a need for them.

       Last but not least, find a way to enjoy this process. You are getting the opportunity to return to the world that you left when you finished your book, but this time, you are making the world more vibrant so other people can experience your story in the same depth you did.

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