Chapter 56 – Editing Process

I’m currently in the middle of doing revision for the sequel of the Awoken Dragon and I wanted to share some of the process with you!

WondersOfTheDeep_by_Steve_Jurvetson
My face when I edit. Inspired by an awesome movie about sea vampires. Picture by Steve Jurvetson

I’ve heard a lot of advice that you should start with the big problems and then work your way into smaller details. I agree and follow it, to a point.

I start with reading over the feedback I’ve gotten from my beta reader(s). Usually I get a few new ideas, though they’re not always related to the specific chapter, and write them down for later.

My revisions tend to happen in layers. If I get feedback from multiple betas, I go through them one by one. The feedback which feels more detailed to me gets to go first in most cases. And then I edit, from the beginning of the chapter to the end of the chapter, spelling mistakes and all.

But it’s never that easy, is it?

I don’t mind leaving gaps in the chapter. If there’s a bigger section that needs a complete rewrite, depending on the situation, I might just let it be at first. I bold and underline it (or use a bright highlight color), and then move on. For me it’s easier to come back and craft the missing section when I know what happened before it and what’s happening after it.¬†Sometimes I have to make changes to the following parts but it’s rarely anything major.

Once I’ve gone through the chapter with one feedback, I switch to the next and go over it again. I usually have a good idea about the changes I’m going to make before I start revising so if I remember a certain suggestion, I might leave the part unedited until I get to the right set of feedback. It saves me the trouble of having to re-edit something I’ve already edited.

After I’ve used all feedback, I read the chapter again to make sure there are no continuity errors and also to have a fresh picture of it as a whole. Then I move on to the next chapter. Repeat.

Missing chapters are a little trickier. Sometimes I instantly have an idea for a missing chapter and it comes flying out. In those cases I write the chapter in the right spot, meaning I edit Chapter 4, write a whole new Chapter 5, and then edit Chapter 6. But sometimes I need more time to figure out exactly what needs to be in it. I might edit all existing chapters before getting back to it. This approach does from time to time cause continuity errors, but that’s why we read through our stories about a million times during the editing stage.

So, since I tend to blabber at this late hour, let’s sum up my editing/revising process for one chapter:

  1. Read through all available feedback and think it over for x number of days (x depends on the length of the chapter and the amount of feedback)
  2. Choose which set of feedback to start with and start editing from the beginning
  3. Insert clear marks where a scene is missing or needs a complete rewrite
  4. Make notes of bigger changes that will affect other chapters
  5. Read through the whole chapter
  6. Move on to the next set of feedback and repeat steps 3-5
  7. Write missing scenes
  8. Read through the chapter again
  9. Fix mistakes
  10. Move on to the next chapter

And once every chapter has been edited, I send it off for another round of feedback.

When the sequel starts getting closer to its final form, I was thinking about making a more detailed post that shows the original page and what changes I made to it.

Does this sound similar to your process? Did this sound confusing or maybe helpful?

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4 thoughts on “Chapter 56 – Editing Process

  1. […] Get feedback Once you’ve produced a second draft, which is hopefully much more polished and in better shape, you should find feedback. Beta readers, critique groups, anything you can find. While self-editing is possible and I know some successful people do it,¬†getting outside opinions is extremely important. You can become blind at your own mistakes. To see how I edit once I’ve received some feedback, read this post. […]

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