Monday, 25 April 2016

My Current Editing Process



So unlike other camps, I have completely neglected updating this space. Well, most of my month has been taken up with job hunting activities, so the editing process has been very, very slow. I doubt I'd hit 10k by the end of the month, which was my original goal.

Anyway, I thought I'd just write a bit about how I'm currently editing. Of course, self editing is no substitute for getting a pro to do it, but I have no money so...

Oh, and this editing that I'm doing for camp is Developmental Editing. The other major type of editing is Copy Editing, which is the one that makes your sentences sound better and gets rid of typos. Developmental Editing is breaking your story down to build it up again.

To be honest, I probably wouldn't need so much developmental editing if I learnt how to properly outline, but the most I can do is a few chapters at a time so...

At least it's not as terrible as my completely pantsed stories.

Ironically, I use a lot of plotting tools for my self-editing, although the first step is an editing tip I learnt.

Step 1: Break it Down

To fix my story, I have to know what's wrong with it.

First, I created a scene list and a character sheet. A scene list is an idea from 2k to 10k by Rachel Aaron, and basically, I bullet-point the entire novel. What this does is to help me quickly identify the biggest plot holes (people doing the same thing twice, or someone doing something odd given the current level of information, etc), and figure out pacing.

A character sheet is from the snowflake method, and it basically lays out my characters motivations, goals, and hopefully by the end, their personal story (summarised). I should probably expand it into a character bible, which includes things like age and appearance (Ok, I'll start that tomorrow).

All this, plus feedback from early readers, help me to figure out what are the problem spots.

Step 2: Build it Up

There are basically two ways I could do this. If the structure of the story is particularly terrible, then I'll restructure it according to "Take Off Your Pants". If the basic structure is sound, but I just need to fix certain holes and flesh out certain scenes, then I write a story beat (from Write, Publish, Repeat) for each chapter.

A story beat is basically a paragraph sketch of the chapter. It can be as detailed as you want, though I tend to lean to the less detailed side.

Once I have my new "outline" ready, it's time to rewrite. Normally, one big round of changes is enough, and subsequent rounds of editing would be to make the actual writing better (i.e. Copyediting).

Right now, I've managed to finish step one and two, and I'm in the rewriting stage. It's going slowly though - I've only just finished chapter five today! And I think I planned for twenty odd chapters in total :p