Editing Your Work

I am beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel metaphorically speaking with my story, and I’m starting to ask myself once I’m finished, how do I go from rough first draft to finished story? Of course I am speaking of editing. I must admit however I am venturing into foreign territory; I haven’t the slightest idea how or even where to begin.

I have written my story in MS Word, and I know how to use the find and replace feature; but what I guess I asking is the nuts and bolts of reviewing a rough draft and begin to polish it to a finished story? Those of you who have gone through this experience, what was it like? How or where did you begin? What sort of tools did you use that were helpful?

The only person who has ever read any of my writing has been my wife. She is critical of my writing, but helpful in that she offers suggestions on how it would make the story more enjoyable for her to read or keep her interested. I have also read suggestions about reading my story out loud to myself as a way to hear the flow of the story and identify rough spots to improve. I see the validity in all of these.

So what do you use to edit your story? How or where do you begin the process? What tools do you use to help your story get from rough draft to finished project?

Until next time?


This entry was posted in Editing.

3 comments on “Editing Your Work

  1. Congratulations on nearing a finish to your rough draft. Believe me, it took me forever to get to the end of mine, but by the time it happened, I couldn’t think of anything more personally rewarding, just to know I’d finally get there.

    Editing is quite a big task, and knowing it how to do it in the way that suits you will take a couple of goes. As all things with writing, many people can give you advice, but your preference may always be a few tweaks difference.

    Start with leaving your writing for about a month. Move on and start writing a new story, or try experimenting with poetry, or write a collection of short ones. By giving yourself a break, you will be able to re-read your work with fresh eyes, like a new reader.

    Personally I then begin by printing everything out – it’s very difficult to annotate efficiently on the computer, because by handing you can make nifty drawings or use shorthand more quickly without a whole load of red squiggly lines in the wrong places making things more confusing. Read it all first as a reader – with very few notes. Just see how the flow of the story go, and then the second time, analyse it.

    *Some* things to look for:
    – repetition
    – grammar mistakes
    – description
    – unnecessary passages
    – adverbs
    – places that lack emotion
    – pace
    – suspense
    – clarity
    – showing and telling
    – plot holes

    You’ll be able to change more things as you go through and see any mistakes. Write your second draft, and keep going till your satisfied, but after the second time, it’ll come more naturally and more efficiently.

    Keep going, and good luck. I’d love to see how you progress, your blog posts are always great to read, and nicely expresses your journey as a writer. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    ~ Jay

    • stevebrowne says:

      WOW, thanks for all the support and ideas.
      I appreciate giving a newbie such as myself such incredible help. Honestly I think that editing is much more daunting than writing; I suppose because I have not done it before.
      If I my continue to be honest, I also fear that once I start editing, I’ll end up re-writing whole sections of the draft of the story in order for it to make sense and I will end up with a completely new story; which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, its just that I will feel as though the time I spent writing the first draft will be for nothing.
      Anyway, enough of my whining. Thanks for taking your time to read and reply to my post.

      • Hey there,

        You’re welcome. It’s actually rewarding and fun to help discuss things as a writer, and I hope anything I say is help. I completely understand how daunting things are when you haven’t done them, but I actually prefer rewriting than writing – because that’s when all the wonderful description comes, everything begins to sound professional and right and everything is taking shape more clearly.

        And as for ‘I will feel as though the time I spent writing the first draft will be for nothing’ – not at all. You can only *re*vise, if you have something there in the first place!

        Don’t worry, I have full confidence you’ll get past it just fine 🙂

        ~ JLT

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s