Author Topic: What do you look for in editing?  (Read 1171 times)

Offline Dean

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What do you look for in editing?
« on: August 04, 2013, 06:27:54 PM »
When you revise what you write, what are the common things you find yourself addressing? Making the characters shine through, adjusting the pacing of the plot, etc? We've all heard of how the first draft is about just getting the story down so you have something to work with, but what is it you work on after?

Offline 510bhan

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Re: What do you look for in editing?
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2013, 06:33:39 PM »
Checking the voices match the characters and haven't changed in the edits for fixing other things. Layers that help foreshadow later actions, now that you know your character and what they actually do in the story giving them the make-up to pre-empt these so the reader is prepared for the behaviour -- why it might [explicably] be out of character or playing to type from the picture you have drawn so far. :-[

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: What do you look for in editing?
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2013, 07:00:34 PM »
I had a link to Ma's editing list in our glossary but the link is broken now.

Offline Skip Slocum

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Re: What do you look for in editing?
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2013, 07:07:03 PM »
Here is the link to a list of things to get started on.

http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=16047.msg206809#new

The one I posted before was the wrong one. This link is correct.  ^^^

Also FYI, I've attached this link to the term 'Edit' in the MWC Glossary -->  http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=41276.0
« Last Edit: August 04, 2013, 07:22:40 PM by Skip Slocum »

Offline Dean

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Re: What do you look for in editing?
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2013, 09:27:37 AM »
Thank you Skip, that is incredibly helpful  :).

Jo Bannister

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Re: What do you look for in editing?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2013, 12:19:47 PM »
I'm on the look-out for factual inconsistencies - both genuine facts, that I thought I knew when I wrote about them but wouldn't like to stake my reputation on, and the "facts" intrinsic to the book.  If a character has brown hair at the start and black hair at the end, is there a reason or is it just the failing memory of an aging author?  If a minor character had three children in chapter one, she can't have five by chapter eight unless she was already pregnant with twins. 

And, yes, voice - are the ways the characters speak consistent throughout?  The answer is usually no.  Mostly, in the rush to get things down, I have them all speaking like me - so that's something that needs attention.  (Not that there's anything wrong with speaking like me, but it'd be a bit of a co-incidence if the Lord Chief Justice, the Chief of Police and the chief cook and bottle-washer ALL spoke with a middle-England accent heavy on the northern vowels!)

Then, do the sentences flow?  Will they be pleasing to read?  Are they grammatically accurate AND lyrical?  Can I justify the use of every single word if someone challenges me on them?  Because I need to be able to.  Publishers' editors are on the whole a conservative lot - if I want to play with the language, I must be able to show I'm at least playing by the rules.

Finally, are there any gaps that need filling, or places where the action lags and needs gingering up?  Solving these problems is not usually difficult; you're three-quarters the way there when you've spotted them.

Good luck.  I have to say, I always enjoy the process of turning a first draft into a finished book.  The reward-to-effort ratio is so much higher than during the getting-something-bloody-down stage.