Some writers edit their books too much, while others don’t edit enough; but most new writers seem to fall into the latter category for some reason. This post is not to bash new writers in any way because I was a new writer once and made many mistakes. This post is just to serve as a point of reference as to the necessity of editing.
I’ve talked to some aspiring novelists who wondered why no one wanted to buy the 1st draft of their original, brilliant opus–that hasn’t been edited. When I wrote my first novel, I thought it was very good–but it wasn’t!
The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you’ve sold millions of books or none at all, we all should edit our work. Anyone can make mistakes. No 1st draft is infallible.
I’m sure you’ve heard it a thousand times, but after you’ve written your 1st draft, let it sit for a while. I prefer to allow mine to sit for about a month, but that varies amongst writers and everyone has their own suggestions on that. While it’s sitting you should work on something else.
Stephen King mentioned a funny anecdote in his writing/editing advice book, ON WRITING. If you’re a writer, you need to read it. The anecdote detailed how his professor proofread something for him and instead of writing about pheasant hunting, he had written peasant hunting. 🙂 It was funny, but no one wants to make mistakes in their writing.
I didn’t detail my editing process because I’m always changing it. When I sell a novel instead of short stories, then I’ll be more willing to share a stable process. 😉
So, if you ever think about not taking the time to edit, just think about what Blanche (Golden Girls) did when she decided to write her “brilliant” novel:
I pay one editor to edit my work after I'm through, then another editor (no kidding) to edit the original editor's work, not to mention the three copy editors. This is because I am the worse self-editor on the planet.Wish I'd read your post when I started out. Wait- they didn't have blogs then!
I edit obsessively, but I know I miss simple mistakes I should never miss.
I probably go overboard on the editing.But then, I'd rather do that than not enough. 🙂
Rick,I have betas and they offer excellent feedback. They all end up noticing different things, which makes the work sooo much stronger. 🙂 No blogs then? Lol. Charles,We all miss stuff. It happens and that's why I love my betas. Raine,True enough. Editing is so necessary.
Awww, that pic (with the cat) is the saddest picture ever! LOL And also how I feel most days. *sigh*Not to the editing stage yet with my novel. But this summer it's me and the red pen ever day until it's done.
Definitely one of my favorite episodes of the Golden Girls!!!
i'm an editing fool… i do it as i write, once a sentence is complete, then multiple times in the course of finishing a paragraph… i get ocd over it, at times… lolloved the 'golden girls'!
Sealy,I feel the same way! That's why I loved that pic so much. Lol. The same with me this summer. The red pen is my friend! ;-)Chris,I loved that entire series. ;-)LW,For me–and this is just what works for me– I've learned to wait and just get the 1st draft done because I don't want to get bogged down with constant changes as I write. It interferes with my story. 🙂
Hey Tyhitia!You had commented on my blog AGES ago, back when I was just posting random things about my life. It's been years but I have now revamped it as a book review blog and also about author events and my work as a personal assistant.I just wanted to say thank you for your comment :)-K8http://froze8.blogspot.com/
My mother in law is a great editor. She edited \”In Praise of Older Women\”. She also edited my book. Unfortunately, we had a falling out over my sons' bar mitzvah, and now I can't ask her to edit anymore. Bummer.
Froze8,Wow. Lol. I will be back to visit. Thanks for stopping by! ;)Robin,Whaaa? You can; eventually I'm sure. 🙂