Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Editing vs making changes in the ms

Arrgh - what a process. Am working on it right now. Well, actually I've edited the ms and am now making the changes to my ms. It always seems so easy to put in a note saying "rewrite this paragraph", "add a bit more description here" etc., but when it comes to DOING it, well, that's another story.

But when I'm in the editing stage, I don't WANT to do that rewrite. Or research the description. For me editing involves identifying what needs to be reworked, not actually reworking it then and there. Am I wrong? I don't know.

All I've noticed is that if I take the time to actually rewrite that paragraph during the editing process, it slows me down. And I lose the thread of the story and my rhythm.

OTOH, once I really get going with the changes, things happen. New scenes pop up. Or when I reread and enter a couple of things, the characters take over and help me out.

Sometimes I find myself getting obsessed with researching a small detail. I don't allow myself to do it anymore during the writing of the first draft, but get caught up in it while entering changes. Which slows me down. But I worry if I don't do it when I notice the detail is missing, I'll forget to research it. Or maybe I just want to procrastinate (see an earlier post for more on this).

I think the most frustrating aspect of this stage is that my mind is constantly working on improving the ms. Which is fine when I'm at home and near pencil and paper to make notes. But when I'm on the treadmill at the gym, it can be a tad problematic! Am pretty certain people would truly wonder if I pulled out a mini tape recorder and panted into it a note to myself about adding more depth and emotion to the love scene.

Am definitely rambling here. My mind just keeps jumping around from thought to thought. Strangely enough, I now recall searching the net for articles on revising my ms and even printing some. But did I read them all? No. Sheesh.

So I just glanced a couple of those articles. Hmm. Well not everyone mentions what to do when you find a section that needs expanding. Maybe I should assume then it's a very personal choice?

In the end, I guess I have to trust myself. This method has worked for me in the past.

Want to learn more about the editing and revising your manuscript?

Holly Lisle's One Pass Manuscript revision
Barbara Dawson' Smith's Self-Eiting Checklist
Jessica Page Morrell's Style Checklist

For more general tips, go to Suzanne McMinn's Extras for Writers.

Teresa (back to making those revisions)

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