::Writing:: The editing process

On December 13, 2010 by Aimee

So you wrote a novel.

Now what?

If writing had an alphabet. The first letter, ‘A’, would be defined as ‘write the novel’

B through … oh …., let’s say ‘Y’ would be defined as ‘edit’.

Think I’m kidding?

Well, yeah, probably.

B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I would definitely be ‘edit’.
J, K, L, M, N and O would be write and edit query.
P, Q, R, S, T, U, and V would be write and edit synopsis.
W, X, & Y would be edit novel AGAIN after 2-3 months have passed.

and then we get to ‘Z’.

What’s ‘Z’?

It means ‘start the entire process again with a new novel’. 🙂

Now, of course, I have a method to my editing madness. Have to, right? What do I do? I’ll tell ya!

1) Write novel
1a) Edit while writing (yes I do this. I just can’t leave an inconsistency in there if I KNOW I’ve changed it later on in the story).
2) I go through the ENTIRE novel again adjusting scenes, sentences, dialogue, everything *I* can pick up.
3) I ask my writer buddies to go through it for/with me and EDIT from their suggestions
4) I run the ENTIRE novel through an online program called AutoCrit which picks up my most evil problem: overuse of common words an repeated phrases.
5) At this point, I look for non-writer beta readers. Folks who would just read it to read … and to give me their opinion on the overall story.
6) And then I edit again. 🙂

To get to 6) … the story has usually been written for about 2-3 months.

Then, I write that query and synopsis (sometimes before 5) and sometimes not). From that, I sometimes edit AGAIN. Yes … again.

Did you think writing a novel was easy?

Try reading the entire thing from start to finish 10 times. Eventually, your eyes go blurry and you can’t see the forest for the trees (is that the expression?). So then, the story has to sit for a while (1-6 months). During this time, I usually find and submit the story to a contest …which nets me MORE feedback and yes … MORE edits.

At that point, the story either dies, or is ready to go out to see if I can get it picked up by an agent.

Just to give you an idea of how this has worked thus far:
Little White Lies: Written January 2010. Queried. Contest results. Read by beta. Edited again in October 2010. Full manuscript requested November 15, 2010…. yup … 11 months later.

Mystic Therapy: Written March 2010. Went about it the wrong way. Don’t ask, though it did get a LOT of interest, it didn’t pan out.

Hide & Seek: Written June 2010. Beta readers. Contest results. Currently pending final ME edits and a rewrite of synopsis and query prior to being submitted for consideration.

Do Over: Written August 2010. Contest results in Dec. 2010. Currently another set of ME edits and a non-writer reader before yet another set of edits.

Emi Gayle’s First Kiss(es): Written November 2010. Currently looking for non-writer readers (young and young at heart). 😉 No query. No synopsis. No contests.

That’s my process. Note just how long it takes …. FOREVER it seems … at least when you’re IN the midst of it.

The best part of it? My 5th/6th/7th drafts are really polished. Sure they aren’t perfect, but they are a lot closer than draft #1. 🙂

What’s your process? Share!