Reading For Edits

Before I can do edits, I need to re-read my piece.  This is my pre-edits step, you can say.  I try not to even make simple changes (like spelling/grammar fixes) and focus on my reading of the material and everything I have to do.  And there’s quite a bit.

As I’m re-reading, I write down the current outline.  I say “current” because I know changes are to come.  (I’ll talk about those in a bit.)  This way, I can also write a good synopsis when I’m finally done (and just nitpicking).

I also mark things like important details.  That way I can keep timelines/clothes/important item location right through out the story.  Recently, I was working on a piece that said a character was leaving “in three days.”  Well, I messed up continuity somewhere and ended up having her leaving two days early.  So, I’m glad I do this!

Like I said earlier, I  avoid making fixes.  I mark these, even if they are simple fixes.  I want to keep reading and not fall into writing/editing.  Each fix is classified (like “cut this character” or “choppy sentence”).  When I have specific wording in mind I write that in my note to myself.

And, while doing all that up there, I also mark off my checklist.  This list is checked against each page.  I check for the senses.  I also check for 10 key things.  They are story themes, important character traits I don’t want to leave forgotten, and so on.  Click the link for a PDF of my  Read Through Checklist!  This is to keep the world vibrant and the subtler things on track.

And that concludes my sharing of PDFs on my current writing process!

Do you dive into edits or prepare?
How do you organize your edit notes?

Categories: Experience | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Reading For Edits

  1. I’ve just started edits as well. Like you, I do a read through. I read the whole manuscript. I don’t make any changes. I keep a stack of sticky notes nearby and I write down any changes that need to be made with- flow, characterization, names, places, times, etc. Basically, anything that deals with the story and plot, but not grammar. Then I stick on the page. When I go back and edit each page, I have my notes right there.

    • Sticky notes are the best. I use them while I’m writing and I want to make changes, but I don’t want to go back.

      I wish I printed more of my manuscripts, but I fear the ink and paper use!!! But, when I do I mark it up in mult-colored pens. Sometimes I highlight too. It ends up being a rainbow.

  2. Like you, I do a read-through before I dive into editing. I try to let a story sit for at least six weeks before I even think of revising it. Then I download the manuscript to my Kindle, grab a notebook, and read the story and make pages and pages of notes. It helps me get back into the characters’ heads and the voice of the story before I tackle any revisions.

    As far as organization, I have a notebook for each story I work on. It’s for editing notes, a character voice journal, etc. I also have a binder for each story for beat sheets, character background, and editing notes from my critique partners. That keeps me fairly organized.

    • I try to do the 6 weeks chilling period too, but sometimes I take on tasks that don’t allow it. I’m a sucker for submission calls! 😉

      You definitely sound more organized than me, however. I haven’t found my groove with that yet, but I’m trying.

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