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A Writer’s Blog Tag: All About Editing

Happy Friday!

I was recently tagged by the sweet Kristina Hall to participate in this blog tag – all about editing! Admittedly, editing is my least favorite part of writing, but it’s much too important to skip, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to answer Kristina’s fun questions either.

The lovely tag graphic!

So first off, the rules:

And now, for the questions!

What’s the goofiest correction spellcheck has suggest you make (nothing profane, please)?

Hm, in general, spellcheck doesn’t like most my character’s names. For example, it always wants to change the name of my character Hedeon to ‘head-on’, and back when I spelled Éirinn’s name as ‘Erin’, it always suggested the word ‘wrong’ for some reason . . . poor, confused spellcheck, haha. I’ve added lots of names to its dictionary now.

What’s your most embarrassing typo?

Oh, this is a fun one. I don’t keep record of my typos really, because I tend to correct them right away while writing. But I do keep a whole document of writing ‘mess-ups’ that I’ve made (there are more than I care to admit, haha!). Here are a few from various stories:

‘My throat sinks.’

“When I need you, I’ll call for me.”

‘I smile, smiling.’

‘It’s a dangerous trade to get into – and a dangerous one.’

‘He purses my lips.’

‘…planting one feet on the road.”

‘One of them pulls me toward me.’

‘It’s not very safe, but the way is not a safe one.’

What is your record number of complete edits on one project?

Well, on a finished project, my current record would be about…8 full edits. Not counting partial ones, and a lot of touch-ups to fix minor issues. And on unfinished stories, the number would be a lot higher. My very first full novel has undergone so many rewrites and edits that I’ve lost count, and it’s still nowhere close to being done. I guess that’s what happens when an eleven-year-old writes a science fiction novel, with plans of turning it into a huge series, haha. I love it, but it needs a lot of work.

When is a project good enough for you?

Well, I’m a recovering perfectionist, so honestly, never. No matter how many edits I do, I can always find something I think should be better in my stories – even though I’m not sure how to improve it many times. However, one thing that’s really helping me decide when to call a project ‘good enough’ is basically . . . when my edits on a story are no longer improving the story, just changing it, I should probably finish up.

It can be tough to know the difference, but if I’m agonizing between the choice of a word, or how to structure a sentence, and yet the overall, solid story remains the same, I should consider being done. In reality, neither change could be better. Those things are often personal preference, and I could continue to switch them over and over again, without actually improving my story at all. Details definitely matter, but it can be all too easy to become trapped and never allow yourself to share anything because of them.

Do you live in fear of finding a typo in your published work (novels, short stories, blog posts, etc.)?

Absolutely! It’s slowly getting better, as I’m learning that I can’t be perfect and shouldn’t let that stop me from sharing my writing, but I still dread finding errors. At least with blog posts, typos are embarrassing, but I can still fix them. With published novels or short stories though, I don’t think I’m going to be able to read them without holding my breath.

What mistakes or writing styles drive you the craziest (when you’re reading)?

Poor grammar (yes, I’m a hypocrite here). Obviously this can and should vary in character voices, and minor discrepancies don’t bother me. But when the grammar is consistently so bad that it distracts from the story itself, I have a hard time finishing the book.

Also shallow characters. As a character-driven author and reader, I struggle to read stories with characters that just don’t have any depth or relatability to them. This also applies to first-person narrative voices that feel like just the author, and not the character speaking.

Have you ever written in a library book to correct a typo?

Definitely not. I’m very hesitant to write in books – period. But especially if they’re not ones that I own. At some point I might go through a few of my fiction books and mark out the swear words so I can loan out copies in good conscience, but I haven’t done that yet either. Typos don’t usually bother me too much, unless they’re in excess or jarring.

Can you edit and write in the same day?

Yes, but I do need to have a break in between the two, and it helps if I start with writing. I’ve noticed that if I try to write new material after editing for a while, it’s harder to turn off my perfectionistic brain and get my imagination flowing again.

Sometimes it’s actually nice to switch ‘modes’ partway through the day. If I’m feeling drained or stuck on writing, getting to edit can be a refreshing change and I still get to be productive. It really just depends on the day, my mood, how much time I have, and what project/s I’m working on.

What’s your favorite part of editing?

Seeing the story become stronger and more polished. Usually it’s hard to tell in the middle of the editing process, but one of the best feelings for me is coming back to a story after a break and realizing just how much better it’s become. In my experience, it’s often the hardest changes to make that can improve the story most. I think my favorite round of editing would be the second draft, which is usually a full rewrite for my novels.

What’s your least favorite part?

Actually doing the work of editing, haha. Mainly filling in plot holes and having to figure out where I went wrong…when my characters stopped being likable…how to fix the entire second half of the book after noticing a continuity issue…what I was thinking when I threw in that plot twist…etc. Writing the first draft comes pretty easily to me, and so do the final proofreads, but all the editing in between is definitely a (necessary!) exercise in discipline.

Well, thank you for joining me for this fun and thought-provoking tag! I really enjoyed answering these questions, and I hope you enjoyed reading through them as well.

I’ve been doing quite a few blog tags lately, so to avoid overwhelming the bloggers I usually tag, I’m going to leave this one open-ended and pass along these same questions as well. So as you’re reading this post, then consider yourself tagged! Feel free to jump in if you’d like!

What do YOU think about editing? Do you enjoy it? Not so much? How do you approach it? I’d love to hear from you, so let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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