Monday, 8 February 2010
Stage Three of the Writing Process: Editing
The final step of the writing process is the longest and hardest. In the early years of writing, I had this impression that a true writer would write a first draft, spell check, and voila! The genuine creatives just sit down, write as they pull their hair out, and then send out their perfect draft to the publishing house. That's what I saw on TV whenever they showed writers, whether in documentaries or in fiction. Thankfully, I learned soon enough that rewriting is as much a part of writer's life, as thinking up stories. It still daunts me, and it is the one step where I am still working on a personalised process, but I am beginning to enjoy it. Looking at the first draft, just the sheer amount of revisions required often makes me feel like I am never going to get the book done, but then when I see improvements that I make, no matter how little, it gives me hope that little by little, I will get there. Currently, my editing process is quite simple. After the first draft, let the manuscript rest for a little while. Then read through, get the feel for the story. This step tells me if I have plot holes. The next step is to fix easy mistakes, like wrong names. Then go through and fix the plot holes, or any consistency issues. Basically this is a rewrite where required, add scenes, delete scenes, without worrying about making the language perfect. Ideally, a short break here and then another read through. (A step I am most likely to skip) Then go through and revise properly, line by line edit. Polish. And hopefully, done! So there it is, a deceptively simple process that takes forever. This is what I am following right now. It may change, but for now, seems like a logical plan. That's all folks. The three stages of my writing process. How about yours? Have you got yours figured out, or is it work in progress?