Editing Steps Reworded

(From 700 posts…) (Also check out Steps from 2016)

It feels as if I finally know how to edit.

School taught me plenty of ways and skills and whatnot that makes editing what is is. But, I didn’t know the differences between editing for fiction and fantasy vs for information and professional. School does not spend much time on how to edit for a book.

Part of it, everyone has a little bit different editing style. Everyone has their favorite editing to focus in on. Everyone has different parts that need improvement through editing. Everyone has a different fastest and efficient editing style.

Some people write in such a way the beginning ends up fourth draft before the ending is written.

Some people create many second drafts trying to find the right way to word things.

Everyone needs many drafts. The first round of writing will NEVER grant you something to publish. That’s still a complete first draft even if you’ve edited a bunch on the beginning. You consider it by it’s weakest link.

There are seven drafts. Pretty much.

The first is to get the story down in as messy format as possible.
Okay… Not really as messy as possible. We want as perfect as possible, it just never happens. NEVER.

The second draft streamlines everything. It allows to make a note of every single plot, subplot, character arc, overarching plot (for series), etc. Second draft is where you study them. You fix the main plot and the main characters. The biggest of the big stuff.

The third is where you deem what subplots are needed and what aren’t. Now we’re getting the basics of entire structure handled.

Fourth covers timeline, settings, and transitions. The better your notes are, the less this draft needs care. If your timeline is all wrong, chances are you need a rewrite. Double check where chapter breaks (and pictures) are.

After fourth draft you have a decent work. You have something to show off. Get beta readers. Get an editor. Query.

Fourth Draft is what’s good enough for school. Everything’s in order and makes sense. A few quick double checks for proofreading and you’re done.

Fifth draft is making sure ALL characters, settings, and situations are valid, useful, and complex. Yes even the guy selling fruit at the market. This stuff may not reach the actual story, but helps build and expand things.

Sixth Draft is streamline using individual fixes like better words or sentence structure. Double check to make sure dialogue and accents are done properly throughout.

Seventh draft is all proofreading and fixing grammar. You should be done with the story. This is just the final once over.

Can writers mesh drafts together? Can they work on them out of order? Can they skip drafts? Can they double up on drafts?

Yes.

Rushing through any area is a problem though. Like with the timeline and settings to boost fourth draft. If you planned well enough, this shouldn’t take much effort at all. That doesn’t mean you skip it. You make sure by reading through that all the times and settings match up.

Every round is a read through.

Every round will lead you fixing things.

I do plenty of proofreading in all the drafts. But by the time I’m on seventh, the story is done. The proofing is all I have left. Because there are pesky errors that get missed over and over again.

First Step: Write it out.
Second Step: Rewrite it out. (Fix big plots/characters)
Third Step: Weigh everything. Cut and Fluff (Subplots, characters, settings, scene.)
Fourth Round: Double check for timeline, setting, and transition.
-Now you have a decent story.-
Fifth Round: Consider the little things. (Unnamed characters, side characters, suggested places, etc. Useful? Valid? Complex?)
Sixth Round: Consider individual words, sentence structure. The Nitty Gritty.
Seventh Round: Proofread, Grammar Check.

It’s highly likely you miss a grammar or other proofreading mistake, so even published copies stay in seventh draft. Published Seventh Draft. (Every time you read through it again, you’ll find something.)

The first, second, and third drafts really change. Unless you know how to see it and what it should be, you won’t see the story. By fourth, the big stuff is done.

The fourth draft is what you show others. It starts looking comparable to what’s on the market. But it’s comparable to a three star. It’s okay. It’s not great.

The last three rounds are to make it great.

Many first timers will publish the fourth draft. They’ll leave the errors. They can easily see the story. I can too, but it’s bogged down by mess.

It’s like walking into someone’s house and seeing the bare bones. Plenty can. Most can’t.

Another note before I close out this expanded editing steps from 700 posts…:
No matter how many rounds or edits the book goes through, you need time between attempts.
A week minimum. For every thousand words, I would suggest a day’s wait. The most suggested time is a month. It’s okay to wait longer.

Do not rush editing!

The Steps Again:

First Step: Write it out.
Second Step: Rewrite it out. (Fix big plots/characters)
Third Step: Weigh everything. Cut and Fluff (Subplots, characters, settings, scene.)
Fourth Round: Double check for timeline, setting, and transition.
-Now you have a decent story.-
Fifth Round: Consider the little things. (Unnamed characters, side characters, suggested places, etc. Useful? Valid? Complex?)
Sixth Round: Consider individual words, sentence structure. The Nitty Gritty.
Seventh Round: Proofread, Grammar Check.


[Writer’s Stuff] [About Cat Hartliebe]

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