Monday, 4 February 2013

On Chunky Edits

In my last post, I talked about finishing the first draft of my latest MS and what a hideous mess that looked like. Since then, I've been getting down to what I affectionately term 'chunky edits'.

Because my poor first draft was full of plot holes and huge gaps in continuity, my first editing pass is really focused on two things:


  • Plugging the holes - which means rewriting scenes, adding scenes and explanations (including one I've yet to add in which is pretty much the mechanical crux of my premise), and basically patching my manuscript together with spit and duct tape. I'm not too worried about it being pretty right now, just that it can hold water. 
  • Reshuffling - moving things around, making sure key events happen at the right time, and that the Big Exciting Things are spaced well to give the MS good pace. Remember that scene in Minority Report where the guy is working on holographic computer monitors to sort through the predictions of the 3 psychics, and he's all whizzing them around like a floating deck of cards? Yeah, that's pretty much nothing like how this part of my editing looks (except in my head).

While I'm editing, I'm also reading a book on writing craft called The Breakout Novelist. It's a great read, and very easy to get into (important for me, as I hate reading 'craft' books generally) - I'd really recommend it if you're at any other point in your process except querying. If you're querying, your MS is done and dusted, so reading this book then is probably only going to make you doubt yourself. 

I think I'll probably take another week to finish this editing pass, then I'll move on to 'smooth edits'. Yes, I am aware that my editing phases sound like they are named after types of peanut butter. But more about that in the next post!

What's your editing process? Do you work in phases, like me, or have another method? Sharing is full of WIN.


6 comments:

  1. How do you know when you have a hole??? I mean, sometimes it's obvious, right? But other times it's hard to know. I'm so not-confident about this part of the process.

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    1. Sometimes I'll spot them even when I'm writing the first draft. I keep a notebook for scribbling things like "Jane needs a reason to turn psycho in chapter 9" next to me as I'm writing/editing, and I'll go back and fix that in my chunky edits. Or sometimes it'll be something which only occurs to me as I'm editing, or it can slip right by me entirely until one of my wily CPs spots it :)

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    2. Love the insight you shared and the craft book suggestion. I agree it is important to just get it out, then revise and improve. I find it helps me to put it down for a week or two as well before rereading/editing. That way I am more removed from the project. As always, I enjoy your blogs, Kat!

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    3. Thanks, Debbie! I totally agree about it being a good idea to put it in a corner and leave it alone for a couple of weeks before editing it - helps bring back that 'fresh eyes' feeling. Not that I managed to do that with this MS - it took me soooo long to get the draft done, that I'm feeling very behind schedule (although it's really only my own schedule). Thanks for stopping by! :)

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  2. Lmao at the Minority Report visual!!

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    1. That's what I WISH I looked like while I'm editing ;)

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