Day 5 – “E” Editing
I’m old school. When it comes to ripping apart my first drafts, I find it physically painful to do so in any method that does not include a hard copy of the document and a red pen. Whether this be editing an employee handbook at work, revising an essay or article, or dissecting a chapter of my novel, my go-to method is to print it out and go through everything word by word, line by line. I’ve always edited this way and I highly doubt that I will ever resort to an exclusively electronic process.
As a tree-loving Oregonian, I cringe at this. In my defense, I try to give the document a good run through for initial edits prior to printing. But, I always find things I didn’t catch the first time around when I have a red pen in hand, prepared to attack the page. After inputting my first round of edits, I will typically print everything again, and again… and again, until I am finally satisfied with the final draft.
With my novel, I haven’t quite gotten to this stage. I’ve printed out and edited single chapters or stories, I’ve edited excerpts as I go along, and most definitely go back through and rewrite bits as needed as my characters and their journeys take unexpected turns. This ongoing process is a part of the editing process that I find incredibly beneficial. Part of editing is rearranging and restructuring your story to ensure that it flows and transitions perfectly, to ensure that characters are fully developed, and their stories are believable.
So I suppose that with my longer pieces, there are two parts to the process for me. Rearranging and rewriting prior to printing, then attacking my piece with a red pen in hand, editing for grammar, punctuation, and syntax, while fully prepared to dismember and re-piece together if necessary (which is nearly always).
With my blog posts (whether they be random articles, poetry, prose, a recipe, etc.) I have two tabs open when editing: the page in which I’m writing/editing the post, and the “preview” page. I go back and forth an average of 3-5 times, reading and rereading the preview version until I am (hopefully) 100% certain that there are no mistakes, freaking out and instantly editing if I happen to find an error post-publish.
What are your editing methods? Do you edit strictly on a computer or do you print out the document and edit by hand? Is there a process you adhere to or do you implement different techniques depending on the piece?