Editing is a strange process to go through as a writer.
It’s a necessary and important process, yes, but also strange, bizarre, and often uncomfortable as well.
What I mean when I refer to the editing process is any and all things a writer does to improve their manuscript between first and final draft. This is the revising of existing text, the cutting of text, the adding of text, the reworking of sentences, the receiving of feedback, the repeating of the above processes, the copy-editing, the formatting, and everything else you can think of.
The process is strange by sheer complexity. It incorporates so many things, with such varied outcomes and one single purpose: make the piece better. Editing is also a very unique thing for any given writer. Just as no two writers follow the same writing process, no two writers follow the same editing process.
Some writers may keep adding until they have absolutely everything and then start cutting from there. Some writers may cut everything extraneous before adding anything new. Some writers don’t actually separate the writing and editing process. They writer a chapter then edit it, then writer the next and edit the next, and so on and so forth.
My process varies a little from piece to piece. Usually, I write and entire draft of the manuscript and then start editing, first going through on my own and adding anything I think is missing, then cutting what seems extraneous, and then getting it as close to done as I feel I can before getting some feedback. One book I’m working on, I’ve written the bulk of the material, but I know I’m going to be presenting it out of order with a framing narrative that I haven’t written yet. I have to figure out the order before I can write the frame. That means it might only be ¾ of the way done, but I’m already editing rather than drafting.
One thing that I am fairly consistent about while editing is that copy-editing and formatting happen last. The story itself has to be 100% ready to be shared with the public before I go through it with my fine tooth grammar and spelling comb. And then get at least one other to do that too. Once that’s done, I can worry about formatting it how I want it for print.
Do any of the writers out there have any strange editing habits? Or interesting editing suggestions?
One of the odder things I do is that the first pass of copy-editing is done by reading the entire manuscript out loud.