Sunday, December 14, 2008

The daunting task of editing...

Some writers in our NaNo region have decided we want to stay in touch through the year, and edit all those lovely words we've written in November. I already have a weekly critique group, but I like the idea of keeping in touch with my NaNo buddies year-round, and a second set of eyes can't hurt.

So, as I start the daunting task of editing my 2004 NaNo, I'm asking for help. I posted this on the Google group we set up for the critique group (we'll meet in person, but have the Ggroup for organizational purposes), but I figured I could ask for help here, as well:

My first project (uh... first NaNo project; I have two other pesky things to get out of the way first) is my 2004 NaNo. I actually started editing it after I finished it, and when I printed it out I saw I'd gone through 152 of the 224 pages of the manuscript. This was three years ago, however; I remember few of the details and I know I know more now about writing than I did then.

How should I approach this project, then? Do I sit down and read it through, once, to know what I'm dealing with? See the big picture, then jump in and nitpick it? Or do I start nitpicking from the beginning, and let the big picture fall into place as I work with the novel? (Meaning, take it apart chapter by chapter, then worry about story arc, character development, plot, recurring threads, etc. as I work through it, or after the "detailing" is done?)

I feel that I should read the whole thing once through, just to get it all in my head, especially since it's been so long since I've touched it, but I also know that I'll be itching to grab that red pen even if I tell myself I'm not supposed to do that yet.

What are your thoughts, comments, suggestions? How will you attack your editing projects?

:) Criss.


  1. Read the whole thing, with pencil and notebook by your side. For anything other than obvious spelling/grammar errors, write the edit idea in the notebook rather than the draft. This way you don't lose ideas that pop at you as you read, but you also can wait till you see the big picture before changing and see if the edits you thought of in chapter one still make sense when you've reached chapter 20. And then go back and implement them.

  2. (when writing edits in the notebook also include page numbers, etc to make the specific spot easier to find when you go back later)