Editing, editing, editing…

So as the title of this blog post suggests, I’m editing my latest novel, Reunion of the Heart.  But I was wondering – what’s your method of editing?  Do you go chronologically through your story and edit that way or do you do what I’ve been doing and kind of flit about from passage to passage?

The thing is I had eight wonderful beta readers read my novel and comment on it for me, so I’ve got eight different opinions on it already, which is great.  But I’m wondering do I change every last thing that every one of my beta readers has suggested, if even if they might contradict each other?!

Or do I take elements of what each of the beta readers have said to me and follow my intuition, change what I feel from the general opinion I’ve been given is right?  So far I’m doing the latter, but I’m not sure that’s the right course to take.  It’s so confusing!!

But actually so far, having said all that I’m not doing too badly with it.  So wish me luck!  Oh and any info on how you approach editing gratefully received. :)

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20 thoughts on “Editing, editing, editing…

  1. A few steps:
    1) Thick black pen to a printout. What’s not solid gets crossed out.
    2) Search and replace, removing all unnecessary articles, plus words along the lines of “like,” “which,” “that,” and so on.
    3) Determine the dozen “keywords” in a long work … the ones you keep repeating … and attack them with a thesaurus so each turn takes on an added nuance.
    4) Put the mss aside for a year or two before reopening it with fresh perspective.

  2. This is always tricky because all of your readers will have had different input – everyone’s opinions and thoughts are subjective. What I did was go through the comments to see if there were any common themes and then tried to be objective about those themes and consider if the readers were right and if so, would it stay true to my story if I made changes. I think the main thing that you have to do is look at any structural suggestions but always bear in mind that it is your story and you are the only one who knows how it should be told. Do you have an editor lined up for when you have finished? I only ask because they would able to look at any structural issues leaving you to concentrate on the story. At least that is how it is working for me at the moment. :-)

    • Great suggestions! I think if you hear from more than one person that something is a problem, it probably is. Otherwise, follow your gut. :)

      I’m in the same boat (high fives!). My editor sent me a 20 page critique and line edits/notes, so I’m trying to figure out the best way to go through all of that. It’s been an amazing experience so far, but there’s so much to do! I know what needs doing, it’s just fitting all of the pieces into place and deciding what order to do them in that’s overwhelming.

      However you decide to do this thing, good luck! At least you’re not a total no0b like me. ;)

      • You did developmental and line edits at the same time? You’re brave! Good luck with it all.

        Elaine, as the others said, if more than one person flags up an issue, then change it, at least consider it. If it s all too contradictory, go with your gut!

      • Thanks for the advice Kate, glad I’m not the only one going through the hard work that is editing! I actually quite enjoy it, but as I say it’s definitely hard work!

        And as you point out, it’s hard to decide what order to do things in and getting it right, taking other people’s opinions into consideration without losing the story that you want to tell. :)

    • Hi Jade, thanks for your comment, it’s helpful. No I don’t have an editor lined up, to be honest with you I can’t afford it. I’ve got a friend who’s going to proofread for me for free which is really kind of her – I know that’s different from editing but I’ll see how I go with it. I did OK with ‘The Inheritance’ last year and now that I’ve got yours and the other beta readers’ comments, I think I shall be OK. It’s just getting used to editing again as it’s a year since I last did it.

      I think also last time because I only had Kate and another author I’m in contact with, Martin Lake, do the beta reading for me, in some ways it was a bit easier to make corrections because there were only the two opinions. Having said that, it has been really nice for me to have 8 pairs of eyes on my work pre-publication this time around. It gives me a broader sense of what the average person might think of it.

      I do really appreciate your comments here Jade, and thank you again for being one of my beta readers. x

      • You are more than welcome Elaine. I really hope that this goes well for you – I shall cross everything for you! :-) And having eight pairs of eyes is massively different. I found that when I got The Future beta read as I had so many more than I did for The Beginning. As long as you remember that it is your story and you are the author then I am sure that you will be fine. Hope you are well? x

    • I’m fine thanks Jade. I started my job yesterday and I’ve emailed you and Kate about it. You’re absolutely right about the editing – it is completely different with more beta readers rather than fewer. I’ve been neglecting my writing quite a lot lately but I do have an excuse! :)

  3. thanks for commenting on rosie’s post. And thanks for the praise for the cover of the Bench – especially after the winter we’ve had being able to sit outdoors is a treat :D

  4. If comments contradict, I go with my gut. This needs to be the story you’re satisfied with. But if everyone is saying the same thing (and you can see the point), those are needful changes.

  5. Pingback: Jewel – Lullaby | Another Beginning Reviews

  6. Pingback: Update on ‘Reunion of the Heart’ | Elaine Jeremiah

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