magicmau5

Editing nightmare

Recommended Posts

So I have this problem where I go overboard on editing. I get really nitpicky and go back over and over my chapters until I literally get sick at the sight of them. How can I stop this? It seems to waste a lot of time and energy. It's also interfering with my writing process and is so frustrating. I should add that I had a problem in college with this as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that's a common problem for many of us.

One trick I use to keep from over-editing is a three-pass rule. I write the rough draft, and then I'm allowed three passes over the completed story or chapter. The first pass is always grueling, and focuses on grammar and syntax. The second pass is for flow and content, and the third pass is to tweak and polish.

After that, I'm done. No more tinkering and over-tweaking. It's posted, and hopefully, it's acceptably error-free. If not, well, someone will be sure to tell me where I screwed up, and I can always fix it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I go by the policy that we use where I work--I only make changes that I can justify to myself. That is, if I can't come up with a concrete reason for why I should make a particular change (eg, "Adding this bit of dialogue will help develop the character without slowing down the action," "I should add a comma here because this is a compound sentence"), then I don't make it. Using that approach seems to make it fairly clear when I should stop editing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I find myself using the third pass to catch those irritating little quirks, like using the same adjective twice in a paragraph. I do find myself fussing more over things I publish online, because anything I submit to a publisher, if accepted, is going to be reviewed by an editor. The editor will place my nose firmly to the grindstone, and make me fix what I missed.

The advantage of that, however, is that I can be taught, and I try not to make those mistakes again. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My problem is that I see actual errors such as extra spaces, wrong tense, overuse of an adjective, etc each time I check the draft. I'm not sure what happens but I think since I'm writing at night, I'm tired and maybe have more errors than if I wrote at a different time of day. I have this terrible fear of people seeing my mistakes, and it gets paralyzing at times.

You'll laugh at this but I edit a single chapter something like 10-20 times. I can't imagine only editing 3 times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now