1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

Editing, the hardest/most boring part of the process?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Endymion, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. Endymion

    Endymion Troubadour

    It is to me. I find the process boring, annoying and exhausting.
    Unfortunately it is a necessary thing, so I guess I have to continue. :(
    Do you have a similar problem?
    Do you have a technique to make it more interesting?
    How many times do you edit your book?
  2. MadMadys

    MadMadys Troubadour

    I look at it as simply being "different" to the actual writing rather than the boring afterbirth. Sort of like fine tuning a recipe after you've tried it once just to make it all that much better the next time.

    I've known people who've I've helped edit things for that share a similar view on editing simply because they like what they've wrote and, other than grammar, they don't see what they need to fix. If that in anyway factors in, just remind yourself that it can always do with some fixing.

    Another thing, to keep yourself interested, is to have each pass through your work directed at a particular aspect of your writing. For example, I did a run through on one of my stories where I focused on the dialogue and actions on one character in particular so I could make sure they acted in a consistent way throughout the story. Similarly, I tackled references to travel in another pass through so that distances and time required to travel were the same in all cases. This can be kind of time consuming but like multiple passes over a rough surface with a piece of sandpaper, it smooths over in time.

    As for how many time, ug. Many, many many, many, many... a lot of times.
  3. Leif Notae

    Leif Notae Sage

    It is all about your point of view. So, if you are upset about doing it, you will always find it boring. You must have some excitement in order to do it right.

    There are plenty of editing theory books out there. The one that helps the most is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers. Sin and Syntax is another good one. Read these, get into the concepts and theories of editing, and then you can see why you might get more excited over it.
  4. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Parts of editing certainly are boring. But not all of it. I run a continual write and edit system, so often I'm actually just rewriting as I write, and that's more fun than the last series of edits which are essentially running through the grammar and spelling bits.

    Cheers, Greg.
  5. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    Well... it's definitely a love hate relationship with me. When it's going well, I love it. When it's not, I hate it.

    But one way I look at it is this. The first draft is like buying a crappy car. It's rusted and it's ugly and motor runs lousy. Editing is like souping-up the car. You're replacing parts with better ones, tuning up the motor, and polishing the finish.

    There's tons of fun to be had tweaking with parts of the story then sticking them back in to see how the whole thing runs.

    When I replace a defective part to my story story and start it up, listening to the engine hum gives me goose pimples because I fixed something and I know it.
  6. Weaver

    Weaver Sage

    Well, I don't find it boring, but you'd probably expect that of someone who does it for pay (and occasionally for fun, but let's not go into that *g*).

    I agree with Mad Madys: Work on one aspect of the writing at a time, so you don't become overwhelmed. Work on dialogue on one pass, plot continuity on another, descriptions in narrative, etc.

    As for how many times I edit my own writing... I can't say I've ever counted. I revise as I go, so by the time I've finished the story, I've already done several passes of eding/proofreading on most of it, and all that remains is a final look-over before handing it off to a beta reader.
  7. Helen

    Helen Inkling

    It's certainly not the most exhilarating part of the process.
  8. mpkirby

    mpkirby Scribe

    When I first started getting into photography, I was enamored with the photographic workflow. What could I do with the raw image file, photoshop, cropping, color and tone adjustments, custom filters, image editing...

    But as I got into it more, I realized that taking pictures was simply too hard for you to spend more than a few seconds on each image after you have shot the picture. And that extensive editing should be planned or part of the art that is the picture. You were better off paying attention to composition, lighting, texture and mood of your subject while you were taking the picture, rather than trying to fix it afterwards.

    I think for writing that's true as well. We should practice to write such that editing is minimal. Or if we strive to edit, it perhaps becomes part of the process, using editing as a painter might use a brush.

    With my own writing, I've rarely found that significant editing has made a big difference in the quality of the end work. Certainly making passes for consistency and fixing pacing and minor structure changes are fine.

    But if you find yourself spending hours agonizing over paragraphs and sentences, give up. Spend the time instead on improving your writing technique itself so that you write better the first time.

    Now having said that, I have done significant re-writes. But I usually delete, and then start over for that particular section. I don't try to edit my way through a major re-write.

    Weaver likes this.
  9. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

    Try your hand at short stories. I've sold some of those that are first drafts with a single pass to check for spelling and grammar. Even on longer works I limit revisions and editing. It is easy to fall into the trap of the never-ending editing process, particularly if you start rewriting parts of the novel.
  10. Clarence Matthews

    Clarence Matthews Dreamer

    This pretty much sums it up.
  11. I'm currently doing this. My pattern with my book has been:
    1. First revision -- plot hole seek and destroy.
    2. Second revision -- improve the wording.
  12. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    I think it is all in how you look at it.

    Writing is creating, you have freedom to do what you want without many limitations.
    Editing you take what you created and polish it.

    I do woodworking, I cut the peices of the project out, make sure they fit together properly, make adjustments so they are better. Then I sand it, polish it, stain it several times, put a coat of poly on it.

    When you finish your first draft, it is rough cut lumber, it works but doesn't look pretty. You need to trim it, make it so all the parts flow together, sand out the imperfections, alter the wording to make it sound even better, find the flaws in the design and fix them. Then like in woodworking you sand out the rough parts, get rid of all the sticking points. Then you submit to someone and together you polish and make it shine. If your lucky it will get a nice shiny cover(poly) and sit on a shelf with other works of art.

    Its all part of the art of writing. Don't stop being creative just because the rough draft is done. Don't look at editing as a chore.
    Its all apart perfecting the work of art. Its taking the basic structure and making it into a work of art.
    Remember, anyone can screw two boards together and call it a shelf, it takes time to make it something to be proud of.
    Weaver likes this.

Share This Page