The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time–unlike, say, a brain surgeon! –Robert Cormier
That’s what editing is all about. Here’s how my writing process goes:
- Come up with an idea, plot, write. I try to get the story down without worrying too much about editing the first time around. I can’t do that totally–I’m always editing, making little corrections: maybe the wrong word was placed in a sentence, or I spelled a word incorrectly, or I used “????” meaning the thought needed some research or verifying. I might make some editing in the story line.
Once I finally have the first draft completed, I like to give it a few days rest. It gives my brain a chance to refresh from the story. I might work on another one or do some marketing or even an altogether different project. But eventually . . .
- It’s time to begin some serious editing. I read through the story, making notes as I go. Correct this sentence. Rearrange this scene. Change the wording, etc. I normally end up with multiple pages or corrections, and that’s a good thing. It means I’ve found the majority of the issues that need addressed.
While I’m waiting on my editor to go over my corrections and to make the adjustments needed, I, again, take a few days to relax and breathe fresh air. By the time the pdf reaches me for a second round of editing, I’m ready to go.
- The third edit is less intense, but just as important. By now, I’ve caught the major mistakes in my novel. I can concentrate on the depth of the story line, look for any flaws in the main plot and also the subplot threads. I can beef up any weak scenes and tighten all the places that might lag in interest for the reader.
Depending on the story, the editor, and the time available, edits can be from three to twenty rounds. Of course, twenty is pushing it a little, but it can happen, especially with a super picky or super good editor. And hopefully, most, if not all, the mistakes have been found and corrected. That’s the nemesis that dogs most authors’ heels–the thought that we might have missed some flaws not caught.
But, unlike the brain surgeon, who must usually get it right that first time, an author does have the leeway of “edits.” But then that’s part of being an author.
Write, edit, market.
Pretty much sums it all up.