WriYe and Revision (Again)

Well, it’s March, and March continues to be connected to NaNoEdMo, even though it’s dead. (And every March, I’m not revising. Well, I might get there later in the month. Or not.)

I feel like we do some variation of this prompt every March, and since this is my third year of doing the WriYe blog prompts, well, I guess if you want more info, check previous Marchs.

Explain your revision process. Do you go through multiple stages of editing?

I’ve talked about it before, but basically I spend a bunch of time looking at the story as it is, then solidifying my arcs and plot lines, and making notes about what needs to be fixed. Then I RE-outline everything and essentially re-write the entire story, even re-typing scenes that are not changing.

I realize this is an inefficient way to work, but I find the story sits better in my head if I work through the whole thing from start to finish. Also, it allows me to take note of issues on a line level, such as repetitive wording or filtering, which gives me less work in the end.

After I finish my major edit, I tend to read the whole thing out loud, which helps me find any weird flow things, fix dialogue, find typoes that I’ve previously missed, etc.

I don’t typically edit again after that, aside from smaller fixes.

Or just one and then leave the rest to the professionals? Do you/will you use professional editors?

As a freelance editor, I recognize the value that having someone else–especially someone else who knows what they’re talking about–look at your work. That being said, I don’t tend to use professional editors myself, mostly because I can’t afford to and partially because I can self-edit fairly decently.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with using beta readers and critique partners in place of professional editors. You will need to gauge if you’re getting value out out it, of course–not all feedback is created equal–but if you can’t afford an editor, it’s not the end of the world.

Of course, on the other hand, sometimes it’s easier to use a professional editor than beta readers/critique partners. Oftentimes, betas/CPs are part of an exchange thing–you look at mine, I’ll look at yours–which means you need to have the time to look at someone else’s work too, and betas/CPs aren’t always the most reliable people, so you may find yourself waiting a while, or forever, for feedback. A good professional editor will get feedback to you when they say they will.

So, really, using them or not is up to your personal circumstances. My advice is to edit yourself before you hire an editor. You don’t want to distract an editor with things you could have fixed yourself. And make sure you’ve done your research, and that the editor you’re working with understands what sort of feedback you’re looking for.

That turned into more of a lecture than personal experience, so, uh, sorry!

Anyway, see you guys on Friday!

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