Friday, 25 March 2011

All About Editing - Adam Slade

Do you love editing, or hate it, or somewhere in the middle?
Somewhere in the middle. I like the thought that I'm improving my work, but I find it can get tedious fast. By the end of a project, I often find myself sick and tired of working with it. The more I edit though, the longer I can stave off the hatred. ;-)

Do you edit as you go? Or do you start only after the first draft?
I make a point of not editing a single word until the first draft is complete, otherwise I'd never make it to the end. Without the separation of writing and editing, I can't fully concentrate on either, and it takes me forever and a day to get anything down. I admire those who can, but I ain't one of 'em.

Do you have a definite method for editing? If so, would you like to share something from it?
I wouldn't say if was definitive, as I'm always on the lookout for other, better ways, but I do tend to stick to the same routine now. After finishing the first draft, I'll leave it alone for at least a week (ideally more), so as to gain some distance from it. Then I'll read it through without making any edits/notes, so as to get a good idea of the direction and flow of the story. Next is the editing. Rather than doing a pass for spelling, one for grammar, one for flow, etc., I try and grab them all together.

Any tips you've learned from your experience?
Read the piece before you begin to edit, and don't stop writing, as it's a bugger to start up again after (for me at least).

Anything else you would like to add - pet peeves, things that make you want to pull your hair out (editing related), joys and wonders of the process?
I am the king of repeating myself. I've lost count of the number of times I've had to slash out sentences that repeat the information of the previous sentence. Many are the repetitive sentence I've been required to cull! :-)

The result of a caveman breeding with an ingot of un-distilled sarcasm, Adam Slade was always going to go places. Some days he even makes it as far as the kitchen. Adam is an author of fantasy and humour works, and when he's not writing, he's reading or goofing off on the internet. You can read about his exploits on his blog, Editing Hat, and on his Twitter.


  1. Ooh, I'd almost forgotten this was coming up! :-)


  2. Thank you Adam, I wish I could separate drafting and editing as neatly as you, instead I can't help editing as I go and I can confirm that yes, getting things done takes forever. It's interesting what you say about rereading your draft to get a good idea of the direction and flow of the story. My drafts don't convey much of that, I think. Pace and shades usually come with (a lot of) rewriting and editing, but maybe it's just inexperience. Would you say that what you can convey in a first draft improves with practice, or do you think it's one of those things that work in a different way for everybody? Thanks, and thank you Dolly.

  3. I am sure Adam will have his own view, but I think first draft skills, like any skills, improves with practice. The more you write, then revise, analyse, the more aware you become of what's missing or what's good.

  4. Thanks for commenting, Michela. :-)

    I'd say most certainly that first drafts will improve over time. My first novel was a nightmare of a draft, for a number of reasons, but I learn something each time I read and edit, and each subsequent project comes out cleaner. :)

    Hope that helped!