Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Editing styles

A few weeks ago my husband stopped at Home Depot on the way home from our son's baseball game to get a weed burner. We've been having a huge weed problem in our backyard since I am usually the weed-puller, and I've been a little out of commission for the past nine months or so, and as a result, our backyard was starting to look like a desert jungle (trust me, they exist).

This is how my husband takes care of weeds:

Fast, all-encompassing, rip-the-bandaid off style. Since our garden is dead (thank you, desert rats) burning everything works for us.

We don't have a picture of how I take care of weeds because I do it the normal, non-Tim-the-tool-man Taylor way. Pulling each and every weed up by its root, slow but efficient. Precise.

I'm just getting ready to edit the first draft of my  current wip and I've been thinking about my editing style. I edit the same way I weed. Bit by bit, day by day over several weeks. I like to take my time with my editing, seriously thinking about every sentence. It blows my mind when people can edit their entire book in just a day or two. It takes me weeks to finish editing--longer if I'm doing major rewrites.

But just like my husband and the weeds, both ways get the job done--only he's watching the game in the air conditioned house after about fifteen minutes, while I'm out in the heat for hours. But at least the ground isn't charred when I finish.

What's your editing style?


  1. I love the analogy. I'm a combination of both. I always do a "read through" after I finish writing, looking for basic errors, spending some time here and there, but mostly reading fairly quickly. But over the course of months, I do several of these types of edit. Major overhauls in some places during one pass, and in other places the next pass. Makes me wonder what my garden would look like if I did the same with weeds. (I'm like you there, although sometimes I get the shovel out if I need. :])

  2. I'm a weed puller, too. My KISA, a weed-burner. As for editing, I do word searches based on an editing article by Tamara Lynn Kraft titled 'Words Writers Should Delete'. It really opened my eyes to some of my favorite phrases and tightened up my writing. Good luck on editing your WIP. Can't wait to read it when it comes out.

  3. Reading out loud helps get the flow, catch redundant words, and work out the awkward phrases. Like Peggy, I use the lists of words to eliminate, and make sure the five senses are utilized, Best wishes on your WIP!

  4. Since my first project was my learning project (and I'm still learning) I don't know that I have a set system yet. I hope to one day. Right now I think I tend to do what you do.

  5. I'm a weed-by-weed person, except I tend to plant more as I go along, and then I have to come back with the burner. More than once I've had to go straight for the Round-up TOTAL DEATH. Tends to shock the soil, that. Takes a lot time and . . . fertilizer . . . to recover before anything grows.

  6. I had no idea there was such a thing as a weed burner. We've used a propane torch before.

    On the editing, I'm a lot like you. I edit slowly and painfully. I probably edit too much. I go back and edit earlier chapters before I've written the ending. It helps me straighten out the plot.

    Good luck with your WIP. I'm finishing mine too. It's so much fun to write the endings.

  7. I used to edit the same way until a friend pushed me to finish. I got a got a few beta readers on board, printed off some proofs for them too look over, then went at it just like your husband did with the weeds. It was exhilarating! I don;t think I can go back now. Not after I finished in a little over a month's time (including re-writes) My family's glad to have me back, but I'm sooo glad I did it :)


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