Talk to ten published authors along with short story writers and poets,
and you’re likely to find just as many different writing and editing processes.
There is no right or wrong way to take your work from beginning to end, but if
you have yet to find the perfect process for you, here are a few great places
The story: A super short story
you wrote pretty quickly
Go ahead and take another read through right away. Make notes of the
things you like and the things you want to change in the margins or on another
piece of paper. Now, start considering how you’d make those changes. For quick
things, like tweaking a sentence here and there, you can work out those things
now. But for more complex changes, you might want to let those ideas stew for a
day or so before you tackle them.
The story: A long-ish story you’ve
been working on for a few weeks
Hit save and close the word doc, babe—it’s time to celebrate! Let it
sit for a few days, so you have fresh eyes when you look at it again. When you’re
ready, read it through, no pen in hand, and when you get to the end, think
about what you’ve written and ask yourself what works and what doesn’t. Use the
next few days to hammer out a few changes. If you get stuck, find a writing
buddy—a friend, a teacher, a fellow writer—and ask them to read it through.
Once they’ve finished a first read, tell them what you think the sticky points are, ask for their suggestions and go
The story: The novel-length
beastie you’ve been working on for ages
It’s time to put this sucker in a trunk and forget about it for awhile.
Since you’ve been working on it for so long, it’s going to be too difficult to
go back and start editing right now, so take a breather—even try working on something
new right now. When you feel like you’ve gotten enough space from your
masterpiece, pull it back out and put on your reader glasses. Just read it
through first and make note of little things and big things that don’t make
sense or could be written better or explained more fully. Are there plot holes?
A way to make your characters more realistic? Identify the places that could
make your story really shine, and take time to address those. When you think it’s
ready for another set of eyes, turn your tale over to a friend you can count on
to give it a constructive critique. With their advice in hand, do another round
of editing…and then give it to another read. Repeat the process until your
story sings, sweetie.
What’s your editing process,
babes? Share ‘em in the comments!
BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 1/15/2014 7:03:00 PM