Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Quick Word About Editing

Editing has always been my favorite part of the writing process. I love to see my manuscript blossom and grow into something I can be proud of. 

I have developed a system that works well for me. I like to use colored pencils, highlighters and sticky notes. I use long sheets of butcher wrap or hobby paper so I can put my high action scenes in red and my low action scenes in green. If I have a lot more green than red I know my pace is to slow.  

It's very important to put your manuscript away for a few weeks so that you have a good bit of distance from it. I like to re-read the manuscript at that point and look for conflict, character development, passive prose and voice.

I do not like to use a computer in the editing process. I prefer to work on my own with a printed manuscript. I cut and scribble and rearrange all I want without anything between myself and my project.  

I don't worry about grammar, spelling, and formatting until the second to last revision. After everything is done, I then send it to my critique partners for review.  

After I check and double check everything again, I then put the manuscript away for a second time. I let it sit for another week or two before re-reading it again and sending it to my agent.

What methods do you use for revisions?


  1. I really like that process of highlighting low and high action scenes in red and green so you have an idea of the pacing. That's definitely a hard thing to judge on your own, and color-coding is pretty brilliant. Must try that in my new Scrivener toy! Thanks for sharing your process. It is so helpful to hear how my favorite authors do things.

    1. I was just thinking, "Hmmm I bet I could do that in Scrivener, via the cork board. Yes, thanks, Katrina!

  2. I also like your highlighting process and the fact that you print your manuscript and read it from hard copy. When I draft I add notes to myself to address at the revision stage. When I revise, I start a new file for the manuscript. I have revision notes and questions in a separate file and go through those. I keep a cuts file whenever I cut text. I have lists of characters and their traits (hair color, eye color) and keep checking that chart as I revise.

  3. It's definitely a crucial step to let it "gestate" for a while between edits!

  4. Oh for sure! I see so many new writers that send things out to quickly!


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