Love Thy Editing

writing outside

Say it with me…I

I

love

love

OK, guys. Here’s the toughy…editing.

silence

editing (she repeats in a firm, but encouraging tone)

extreme silence

Alright, writer pals. We’re getting there. Baby steps.

I just so happen to be one of those weirdos who doesn’t mind the editing process. (Notice I still didn’t say love.)

When  it comes to a systematic approach, mega details, and cutthroat decisions devoid of emotion. Well…meet my dark side, folks! The editor.

On a less intense note, I see editing as something to cherish. Because at the end of the day, you just wrote a freaking book.

A novel is no joke, pumpkins.

The love, commitment, and devotion put writing a book on par with the most important people in your life. That book is the buddy you tell all of your secrets to, the lover you think about endlessly, and the spawn of your imagination.

It’s your soul in written form.

Man, oh man. There’s just something magical about seeing your first draft all printed out.

Sure, it looks like shit. But that shit is yours.

Currently, I’m working on my second draft of The Bra Game. In other words, I’m murdering my baby with a cheap red pen.

Now I don’t claim to be an expert, nor am I anything in the vicinity of a bestseller. In fact, I’m a self-taught writer who gets her jollies by bending the rules.

But, I do have three books under my belt, so I’ve learned a thing or two about editing.

Specifically, how to try to love it a little.

editing in the park

  1. Change location  Rather than being chained to your desk with a sad face, take your printed baby outside. Fresh air will do your pasty ass some good.
  2. Check out some resources  As writers, we will forever remain students. Recently, I picked up “Self-Editing for Fiction Writers“. Some parts boosted my confidence, while others slapped me on the wrist. But, it was all good. I learned some shit.
  3. Read it out loud  For the sake of your loved ones, try to do this in private. But, do it. When it comes to the rhythm of your writing, especially dialogue, it is crucial to mouth off.
  4. Sporkforge  Hey, what’d you just call me?! I stumbled across Sporkforge from another writing blog once. It’s ghetto as hell, but it’s a life saver. The word counter/text analyzer is a free online tool that dishes out your repetitious words and phrases. I’m sure there are fancier programs you can buy to do the job. But, Sporkforge is free for us poor indies.
  5. Use caution with find and replace  One time I replaced “purse” with “handbag” throughout my entire fourth draft. Let’s just say, my editors and I had a good laugh over “handbagged her lips” instead of “pursed her lips”. Whoopsy!
  6. Marry it, then divorce it  You will live with this story every day – you will get into spats and you will comfort each other. No matter how much energy you put into it, you will never be satisfied with the finished product. Never. So put your big boy or girl pants on, sign the divorce papers, and go your separate ways.
  7. Pat yourself on the back  You wrote a damn book for crying out loud! Pat yourself real good.

16 thoughts on “Love Thy Editing

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Yes! Going outside, especially while we have the weather for it, is a must. It totally clears my mind and inspires me in new ways.

      I love that you read aloud to your dog! Naturally, the cats give me some feedback from time to time. : )

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Thanks, Mr. Roy! I’m pretty sure I’ve lost my mind at the moment, so it’s good to hear some encouragement. Excited for that much needed Montreal vacay coming up.

      OK, back to it. (I love editing.)

  1. diannegray says:

    The only thing I like about editing is knowing I’ve actually got to the point where I’ve finished ‘writing’ 😀

    I’ve only got one more to add to the list. Change the font (or make it larger) to edit – it’s amazing how many missed words you’ll pick up 😀

    Best of luck!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Totally! I’m with you on that thought. The finish line…chest out and jump!

      What a brilliant tip! I’m definitely going to try the bigger font. Thanks for sharing your writerly wisdom, doll!

  2. gabrielablandy says:

    This was so full of motivation, Britt. I loved the moment when you called me (I imagined you only writing this post for me it felt so up close) your pumpkin!! Interesting that this is all about editing, seeing as my lovely editor (West) who is currently charging through your book, all ready to review it next month, has something for my site next week about editing. Do you know Raymond Carver? His stories are spare and beautiful – but a lot of that was due to his editor. Anyway, for those that don’t have the privilege, I love these tips. As always – you’re full of gems, girl! hugs x

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      You’re such a cutie pie…well, pumpkin pie! LOL!

      I’m excited/mildly terrified to read the review when it comes out. But, I know it will be a fab learning experience for me.

      I’m not familiar with Carver, but I love recommendations. Just threw one of his works on my trusty Goodreads list, so I can check him out.

      Thanks for your sweetness. Hugs right back at ya!

  3. Browsing the Atlas says:

    Sigh…..

    I hate
    — say it with me —
    hate,
    hate
    editing.

    I know it’s necessary, but am so glad that my brother (an editor and proofreader) does the first revision for me. My husband edits his own copy at the same time and boldly uses a red pen with no regard for my feelings about the words I put on paper. He’s ruthless. I read through all of their suggestions and then later — much, much later — start to revise it myself. But I get no joy from it. By that point, I’m onto other things. Perhaps that’s why blogging appeals to me. I write what I want and move on.

    But thanks for reminding me that revision is necessary. I’d never heard of sporkforge but will definitely check it out.

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      LOL! I hear ya, I hear ya.

      That’s so nice to have that first revision helper! The first read-through is always killer.

      I love that about blogging as well. So refreshing compared to the long term commitment of the big, bad book. Throw an idea out, and move on. : )

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