I have recently been attempting to edit my book, The Fireborn. Notice I say “attempting to edit”, not just plain, “editing”.
When I edit, I find myself in one of three modes:
- Real editing! I look at every word with a discerning eye. I make changes. I delete things. I add things. I correct things. I am editing!
- Proof reading. I read through and pick up some of the more obvious errors and correct them.
- Reading. I read. I enjoy. I continue to read.
I sit down for an editing session. After two hours I’ve discovered that I spent 5 minutes on “Real editing!”, 25 minutes on “Proof reading”, and about an hour and a half just sitting back, reading and enjoying myself.
Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture?
Actually, the ratios have changed. Near the beginning I did spend a significant amount of time editing. As the book goes on, I slowly shift down the scale. Yesterday I hit one of the big “action scenes”, and all I did was read (no, it wasn’t really an hour and a half).
Another way to say that is, the more I get into the book, the harder it is to edit and the easier it is to just slip into passive reader mode.
Back after I did my third draft, I decided to read it backwards. The reason I did this was that I had I jumped around randomly and discovered that the later I landed in the book, the rougher the writing. So I wanted to make sure I worked, not read. I edited the last chapter, then did the next to last, etc. Since my mind didn’t get into the story as much, I was able to get more accomplished. Still, with the more exciting chapters I found myself reading.
This didn’t work perfectly, but it did help.
I also picked up some phrases that I over used and searched on them. I would weigh each time and try to change at least half of them. That was good too, because I was only looking at a small snippet of text, usually tow or three paragraphs at the most.
I know there are other ways out there to be in the editing mode 100%, but I haven’t found one that works for me. Except, of course, get another person to do it.
How about you? Do you have a method to keep you in the groove of editing and not reading?