My Editing Process: Getting Back to It

In the first part of this series, I talked about editing while drafting. Now I'll talk about getting back to work. After that waiting period is over, first thing I do is read over the book.

This doesn't take as long as you might think. I can usually get through an entire draft in a day and a half. I have done an entire book in one day. I tend not to do it that way. If I do, I'll need a day to recover from all that reading. While I'm reading, I have a notebook handy. I make notes of things that need to change. I don't stop to make those changes then and there, because I want to keep reading. Reading the entire book over the course of a day or two makes those small problems more evident. You can tend to forget those little details when you're reading it over the course of a week.

When I'm done reading, I'll go back through my list and attack those changes. Some of them are broad. "Make sure there's enough romantic tension!" Others are addressing specific problems. Sometimes I'll think of other ideas or problems to be addressed when I'm not writing. I'll add it to my list and get through it.

I love making a physical list to go through. Mainly because I'm a nerd who loves to-do lists. Once those pesky edits are done, I have another rest period. Usually less than a week this time. Then I'll address smaller problems.

Last summer I took the Before You Hit Send workshop, ran by Harlequin editor Angela James. It's a great class for anyone. The beginner writer, the more experienced looking for a refresher, I can't say enough good things. I digress. One of the lessons I took the most from was going through your manuscript for overused words. Like, well, but, so, etc. I also removed all those pesky exclamation points. Keeping them for when they're really needed.

Going through your entire manuscript to do a find + replace is not fun. Especially for those words you really overuse. It is time well spent, though. I usually do this twice. Once before I send to my alpha reader, then once at the very end of the editing process.

In the final part of this series, I'll talk about those finishing touches.