Editing Kinda Sucks

Editing sucks, you know. Writing is the easy part, the fun part. The way the words flow out of your fingers. Editing is slow and tedious. And repetitive. It’s not so bad after the first read, maybe the second. But by the 6th or 7th, it gets a little old.

I’m not keeping track, but I’ve spent way more time editing Frosty than I did writing. (which took about a month.) Reading Frosty straight through might take 3-4 hours. I don’t know how many times I’ve read it, but I’d guess at least 6-8 times. And when I read for editing, it goes much slower of course.

It’s also a good idea to read the novel aloud. Hearing your words spoken helps you catch mistakes and shows you where things might be choppy.  But of course, reading it aloud is  a very slow process and can give you a sore throat if you try getting it done in one or two sittings.

Every week I seem to learn something new in my editing—which is why I started Sloppy Writing 101. There are so many words you don’t want to use/overuse. Therefore, the easiest way to find them is using search/replace. THAT is one of my overused/unnecessary words. With Frosty, I spent 3 hours searching for and fixing the THATs.

Yes, that’s 3 hours for just one word. (The lesson here is that in when I’m writing, I should not overuse THAT.) But I had to do it because I ended up killing about 500 THATs.

Of course, in the editing process, you hopefully delete more than you add. I did with Frosty. A critiquer told me Frosty was moving too slowly and that I was in my mc’s head too much. I deleted lots, including about ¾ of one chapter. In a few weeks I went from 64,000 words to 52,000. That is huge.

This ability to cut the words down with Frosty gives me hope with the first young adult story I wrote. It clocks in at about 95,000 words, which is high for young adult, especially considering that I’m an unpublished author. That is the reason I decided to pursue an agent with Frosty instead. And now I’ve seen how much I’ve cut from Frosty, I will get to editing on my other novel too, in addition to When the Mist Clears.

I’d much rather be writing, but if you want to get published, you have to edit, edit, edit. I have several ideas for new stories, but I don’t know when I can get around to them. As things sit right now, I have written enough novels to keep me busy editing/revising for fifteen years. Therefore, I have to choose which I like best and hope that might be the one.

At least now I’ll know what things to avoid when I’m writing, so that in the future, editing will not take so long.

I hope.

5 Responses

  1. Ella

    Editing is my favorite! And you’re speedy. It takes Alan and I about a year to produce a novel! Agonizing over each word!

  2. Ella

    BTW, I thought “it” was great the way you stayed in your MC’s “head” in “Frosty.” I thought that ability was one of the “good” things that you did and I was surprised that you were able to be so consistent. Not many writer’s can do that at the outset–they’re omnicient–into everyone’s head, but that’s o.k., too, as long as you know what you’re doing. Remember, in spite of all the critiques you get, it’s YOUR novel.

  3. Ella-

    Well I’m obviously not as meticulous as you, otherwise it would take that long also. And I’m obviously not a perfectionist as you can see by my casual writing.

    And with Frosty, I’m still in her head, but I realized too that I was repeating things she was saying a loud. Or just overexplaining–which they say not to do.

    I’ve done a lot of reading on 1st vs 3rd person and I’ve seen some people say 1st is supposed to harder, but for me it’s the easiest. I guess it’s personal preference.


  4. Hey 🙂

    I totally agree, I have a love hate relationship when it comes to editing. I can’t wait to get to it while I’m writing my MS but then when I’m editing I wish it was done already! 🙂 lol.

    By the way, I’ve left an award on my blog for you. Come and claim it when you get a chance 🙂 Happy writing 🙂

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