Monday, February 4, 2013

Editing and Non-Writers

Since finishing the first draft of my novel, and letting people know, I've figured something out.

There is a big misconception about the editing process. And I think it's not just non-writers, but possibly for new writers as well. We need to clear this up RIGHT now. Whether you are just planning your novel, are currently writing it, or are already finished.

To show you what I mean, here's how quite a few conversations have gone.

Me: I finished my novel!

Them: Oh yay! Now all you have to do is proof read and-

Me: Bahahaha! No. At least the first half of my story needs a complete overhaul.

Or, alternatively.

Me: I finished my novel!

Them: Oh yay! Now all you have to do is go through, fixing small mistakes and-

Me: Bahahaha! No. I'm not even worried about spelling or grammar right now.

Get the picture?

I think this misconception can be blamed on the public school system. Yes. The public school system. In school, "editing" a paper WAS just reading through, catching small grammatical errors and spelling errors. That is what people define editing is. It's not. That, my friends, is proofreading, or line reading. However you want to define it.

Editing, especially the first few rounds of editing, is for CONTENT. Does the story progress smoothly? Does it make sense? Are there any extraneous characters? Plots? Red herrings that are never followed?

Though, don't get me wrong, editing for content isn't the ONLY means of editing, but if this is your first draft, it's the only one you should be worried about.


  1. School only taught us how to proofread papers, not stories, I agree with you.

    Editing a novel is definitely harder when you're the writer because you see all of the flaws in your novel, more so than others would. There are some things that you think should stand out but it just ends up being in the's frustrating, occasionally. Just take your time. You'll find that the more you do this, the easier it gets. You'll have moments where the scene just isn't working at all so you have to do a complete rewrite, and you'll have moments where it's just a breeze.

    Good luck with your editing!

    1. Thank you, Cylee!

      You have no idea how much it makes my day to see a comment on my blog!

      Also, I was rereading Mortality the other day and the first half (written probably three years ago) is SO Bad. It needs to be completely rewritten.

      It's a TAD overwhelming. But I'll stick to it.

      Thanks for reading!

    2. I really enjoy reading the posts on this blog. They are usually something I can relate to so it makes it easier for me to comment.

      Funny, someone in the writing community I'm in and I were just talking about beginnings. I always have to rewrite my beginnings. They never seem suitable for my novels when I'm done. It's apparently a very common issue.

      It tends to be overwhelming but you'll get through it. The beginnings are usually the hardest. Do you edit by a schedule (like a chapter a day, 2 hours a day...etc) or edit whenever you feel like editing?

      You're very welcome. Again, I enjoy reading your posts.


    3. Right now, I'm editing just whatever, whenever. I really do need to set myself a schedule, though, so that I'm less likely to Procrastinate.

      Look for a progress bar to the right when I finally get around to it!

      ~C.R. Trumbo

    4. Yeah, I have that procrastination issue sometimes. That's why I force myself to edit, at least, a chapter a day. Or a short story. It slowly becomes a habit.

      Oh, look! A progress bar. That should help.


    5. Yes! I think so. I hope that with that there egging me on, I will feel compelled to continue. I'm actually working on it right now, in fact!

      ~C.R. Trumbo

  2. This must be shared across the world!

    Friend: "Oh you've finished writing? Can I read your book?"
    Me: "No way, the writing is finished but the book isn't."
    Friend: "Whaaaa? But-"
    Me: "No."

    I have had this conversation far too many times. At least it's a common writer problem. Stay strong and enjoy making your story awesome. That is at least my opinion on what the editing process is. The act of making your story awesome (and make sense).

    - Celuth

    1. Oh that is DEFINITELY what the editing process is. Especially in the case of Mortality.

      And you have no idea the feelings I got when I saw the comment from you, I was like "I don't recognize this name. NEW COMMENTER!"


      Thanks for reading! (And commenting) Glad to have you here.

  3. Haha yeah.
    Good grammar won't save you when "Dave" the secondary main character suddenly appears in chapter 8 with no backstory or idea how he got there.