Monday, July 13, 2009

Blog Chain: Editing your own work

My turn to kick things off with the blog chain this week!

How do you edit your own work?

I'm asking this question because I struggle with editing my own work most of the time. I fly through friends stuff and have no problem doing my own when there's pressure (like a request from an agent!) but on a regular day it just hurts. I know a few techniques people use, some I've even tried, like using the find feature on word to weed out crutch words like was, said, etc.

What works best for me is a straight forward read through. I sit down with my laptop and start reading to myself, which takes a long time but is SO worth it. I catch something new every time. A scary fact when you realize it's about the fifth time you've been over the same chapter. I find it difficult to separate myself from my work enough to catch everything in one sweep (or two, or three...).

Reading aloud to yourself, having someone read it for you, using a text to speech program - all these methods are really helpful for catching run ons and choppy dialogue. Regardless of how many times I review it or what method I use I find there are things I miss so I rely on critique partners and my lovely sister to catch the things I seem to be blind to. To sum it up, when it comes to editing my own work I do a read through, then have one or two others do the same, I make the edits needed then do it all over again. Even then I tend to find a tiny mistake here and there. *sigh*

I've also noticed that some of what I've read is indeed true when it comes to practice and helping others. The more I edit my writing groups work the easier its become for me to edit my own writing. My first drafts now are like fifth drafts before. A beautiful thing indeed since the goal is to self edit as much as you can. I get excited to write new work now because the quality is so much better to start so there's less mistakes to find later, and that is a big relief for me since I don't exactly enjoy the editing as much the third and fourth time around! In fact I only know one person who really likes the editing process. Lucky for me she's one of my critique partners. do you go about editing your work?

*If you don't follow The Blood-Red Pencil blog, you must. Check out one of their recent posts on self editing here. Good stuff!

Stop in and see what the other bloggers in the chain have to say this week.
Monday - here
Tuesday - Somewhere Nowhere In My Kingdom
Wednesday - Girl With a Notebook
Thursday - Flames and Shadows
Friday - From Elysium

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