Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Writing: Editing Must-Haves

Project: sister story
Status: editing piper

Editing Must Haves

Editing is one of those things that I know I can do and I know I need to do, but actually doing it is so darn difficult. There's so much more pressure when I'm editing because I have this voice in the back of my head that's like, "well, you already messed this scene up the first three times, so probably it's un-fixable!" I go through I-don't-know-how-many edit/rewrite rounds of a project. And since sister story is told through two first person POVs it makes it that much more difficult -- I have edit rounds for the book as a whole, and then edit rounds for each of the two halves. 

It's making my head go all ughhhhhh.

But also! Also I'm really really excited about this book. It has the potential to be absolutely wonderful if only I can fix all the broken parts. And with that in mind today I want to talk about my editing must-haves -- they might not be what everyone else needs when they edit a novel, but I love them.

Notebook(s) and Pen(s): I use these spiral-bound notebooks that you find in the bargain section of Barnes & Noble. I can't seem to find them online, but they're big and hardcover, which makes them great for taking notes in. As far as pens, anything that writes well -- cheapo Bics are good. I take copious editing notes as I read the novel as the first stage in the editing process. I have 4.5 pages of notes on half of the novel right now.

Time: It's a sad fact that I can't do my editing in 15 minute bursts the way I can (sometimes) write. I need at least a good solid half hour to really get anything done. Hours work best for me. Like, long hours of uninterrupted time. This usually comes in the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep and thus not bugging me. I have a feeling that with this book I'm going to have to switch things up a bit though, and find a way to get my editing done both (a) during the daytime and (b) in smaller stretches of time. I'm hoping an hour a day will work. 

Kindle: Ever since I got a Kindle its main use has been to be totally invaluable when it comes time to read over my writing. It's so much more eye-friendly than the computer screen, and more planet-friendly than printing off hundreds of sheets of paper. So I use it whenever I can.

Post-Its and/or Index Cards: I know that Scrivener has an awesome corkboard feature, but when I'm editing I go old-school and write relevant scenes/details/notes on post-its and index cards that I can shuffle around. This is mainly used when I have to reorganize scenes (which is, sadly, often, because apparently I pretty much never know the order in which things should happen).

Whiteboard Calendar: For getting the timeline straight in my head. Seeing how much time the book covers and when the big events happen.

Writers, what are your editing must-haves?


  1. I'm the same with the Post-Its and Index cards, but I've never considered a Whiteboard calender for putting up the timeline of my novel. What a brilliant idea! I'm going to have to do that with my WIP when I get a chance after term is over because the whole thing takes place in roughly three weeks--and it does have a clear, set start date. Interesting.

    1. Oh, I definitely recommend it. Works wonders for keeping the timeline of your novel straight, especially if your skipping days or weeks during the novel.

  2. Using your Kindle for reading your own writing is such a great idea. I don't currently own one, but I think I might buy one just for that purpose.

    I like editing in red ink. It's silly, but it makes me feel official.

    1. The funny thing is I rarely ever buy books for my Kindle, but when it comes time to edit I don't know how I'd do without it.

  3. Very helpful post!
    The Kindle idea is great. I never thought of using mine for reading my own writing. But gonna give it a try!
    - O.ops I Read That Book!