Friday, 13 May 2011

All About Editing - Nancy Haddock

Do you love editing, or hate it, or somewhere in the middle?

I adore editing! I especially love finding cliches I've used and twisting them into phrases that are more vivid and/or fun. To search for and re-weave dropped or dangling story threads can be a bear, but it's also exciting to make a story as tight as I can in the moment. 

Do you edit as you go? Or do you start only after the first draft?

I do some editing as I write, but try not to over-revise early on. I can kill my creativity if I listen to my internal editor because nothing makes her happy! :) Normally I write 5 to 10 or more pages, print them, and then edit on hard copy.

Do you have a definite method for editing? If so, would you like to share something from it?

I've never thought about having a definite method, but working from hard copy is an absolute must for me. I have to find and get into the flow of the characters and story in the first few pages, then be sure the flow carries through the first few chapters. Flow is a feeling beyond than the words themselves. Once I'm riding the wave, I edit mainly for picky stuff - typos, grammar, awkward sentences, etc. If I can quickly rework a cliche or another element, I do, but I don't let myself get bogged in daily editing.    

Any tips you've learned from your experience?

I have a critique partner who is marvelous about pounding me to add emotion, so I've learned to layer in more emotion in first drafts. I've also learned to trust my process, no matter that it may sound haphazard to others. Writers know what we should look for in editing, but it make take multiple passes to sharpen each element - without over-editing! And, yes,  errors do slip by us. We're human. 

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'm laughing because I've caught myself reading a sentence and thinking, "What the heck was I trying to say here?" It's not that the passage sounds frou-frou "writerly." It's that the passage doesn't communicate. Ack! On the flip side,  the process of layering elements like emotion and mood-setting can be magical. I love it when that happens!

Thanks for the opportunity to share with you and your readers, Dolly!

1 comment:

  1. Dolly, thank you so much for having me! I've enjoyed your other guests, and it's a pleasure to be with you!