Editing: What Is Working and What Hasn’t Worked In The Past

This will be a three-part series. This is the first installment or background information. The second part will have the editing process for the novels and novellas I have already written without character development. The third part will be a plan putting character development earlier in the process to streamline it.

If you read my post Looking Back at Past Writing Projects you know I was trying to edit a writing project I wrote in the 10th grade. The pacing was off with several possible scenes condensed in a single paragraph of “telling.” The writing was odd and stilted with a lot of absurd humor that wasn’t funny. It has a lot of potential for my first attempt at a longer work of fiction, though.

But I got discouraged. I wasn’t sure how to edit. So I just read back over what I had written, adding in a couple sentences here, changing a few words there, but leaving the original writing largely untouched.

I wasn’t using my editor mindset. Instead, I got disheartened because of how terrible the writing was and how much work it was going to be in order to make the work what I wanted it to be. I was under the illusion, as many young writers are, that it doesn’t take much work to get the first draft to be publishable. Sure, I had heard that people go through five, 10 or 20 drafts, but no one tells you just how much work goes into the first few drafts. The macro-edits can be really overwhelming to think about.

I quit trying to edit my draft I was so discouraged. There were plenty of plot holes and a bunch of other things wrong with the manuscript that I wasn’t prepared to deal with at the time.

So I guess you could say I have never really completed the second draft of a longer piece of writing. Editing has always been my Achilles’ heel when it comes to my writing.

I have been looking up a lot of writing resources as of late. For example, Jenna Moreci’s YouTube channel,  the DIY MFA website and their podcast, and a bunch of books on writing methods and processes.  These have taught me a lot about how many times you have to read your novel and different editing processes and mindsets.

With all of this information in my brain, and using what I know about how my brain works best, I devised two different editing plans. One process for the novels I have written without any character development and another for things I will write in the future to make the process more streamlined and easier.

Stay tuned for Part Two for the process for already-written projects without character development. This will be posted tomorrow.

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