Is Editing A Story Work To You?


PariahSolo
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Is Editing a Story Work?  

16 members have voted

  1. 1. Work?

    • Yes, but a Necessity
      7
    • Yes, that is why something called Beta was created
      1
    • No, I find editing a pleasure
      8
    • Editing? Who needs stinkin' editing, this is porn I am scribbling
      0


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Okay, in the middle of editing my story (actually been doing that for a while) and the editing process is just kicking my butt. Unlike the writing process, which I enjoy and just breeze through, actually editing my work is slow, tedious and dreary.

Note: I am not spamming for a beta here, did that in the Beta section already, just more of a rant via a poll.

GRRR...tried yet again to edit the post to include the poll. No joy, again.

Woot, got all of my cookies cleaned out (finally) and now the poll is there.

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I find editing the story to be a good thing not work at all.

It gives me a chance to add onto the story if I get an idea on the story itself.

Beth

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When editing my own stories, I fear that I may have OCD. I edit and check each draft three times. Always exactly three times.

And yet it doesn't feel like work.

I think the only time editing feels like work is when I'm editing someone else's story. It's one thing to fix spelling and grammar. There are times when a word is repeated too often or the syntax of a sentence is screwed up. Re-wording feels like an actual struggle because I don't want to take away the author's voice/tone/flavor.

Otherwise, no, it doesn't feel like work.

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I agree with the previous two people. I don't mind editing at all, and I find it an integral part of the writing process itself, and is really no different at all. No matter how carefully I write, I always find errors when I proofread my story. And it's not just errors, I ALWAYS find better words and phrases to use, and even whole paragraphs, things that only make my story better. One technique many writers use is to just get the story down, and then refine it in proofreading. Professional authors will proofread their entire novel multiple times, from start to finish, before it's submitted to the publisher, even highly successful authors. So proofreading shouldn't be seen as a chore, but as a great chance to improve on your story.

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I think of editing in two different ways -- "surface" edits, where I clean up the syntax and grammar and switch up the word choices a bit, and "deep" editing where I do a read-through of the entire story as it stands and change things around dramatically so that it reads better. The former, I think, is rather enjoyable, as my mistakes are usually pretty small and silly, but it's the deep edits that can be almost painful because they require a lot of time and usually mean that I have to delete large chunks of the story that I loved. In the long run, I've found that deep editing usually makes my stories a lot more interesting, exciting, and readable. When I start a story I usually have a vague idea of where I'm going, but after I've gotten through a few chapters, I typically find the "vibe" that I'm going for, which makes it necessary to change up the earlier chapters so that everything is streamlined. So, in short, it's the deep edits that definitely kick my ass, and if I didn't have a task-master of a beta (excellent for a procrastinator like me), my stories would languish, half-finished, for ages to come.

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I agree with everyone who has given their input. Whether we are visual artists or literary artists, an artist is never fully content with a piece once initially finished. I, too, find that I have to tweak something here and there, reword in one place or another, or maybe even change one entire section of a chapter. I find that it just makes me feel better about the finished product, and you don't have to worry about editing backlash, seeing as it's your own work...lol.

Edited by SFC_Omicronus
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Is it work? I suppose so, but it is necessary.

Minor editing and tweaking isn't much of a hassle. I tend to do it as I go along. I get interrupted often when writing and frequently have to reread whatever chapter I'm in to get back into the flow. I tend to edit and tweak as I go along. Then I do a full read through for to check for errors and to tweak the chapter before using MS Word's grammar/spellcheck tool. If it's one of the stories my Beta has agreed to look at, I send it off. If it isn't, then it gets posted.

I'm not sending everything to my Beta because I've been churning it out at such a rate it isn't fair to keep her from working on her own stories. Though I think working with her has improved my abilities to edit and tweak my own work.

I really don't find it a big chore at all. If I needed to do major editing where the structure of the story itself were to be changed, then I would find it a chore. I don't do that very often.

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Editing my own stories is work. I resist it. I don't enjoy the idea of rereading my own work, but I force myself to do it. I'm much better than I used to be. In the past, I would simply refuse to go over my work again and hand it in without reviewing at all. I think I have a hard time standing the anxiety of being "betwixt and between."

Editing other people's work is enjoyable. It is work, though. Sometimes, I'll find myself in the middle of a protracted beta session, and I'll look up and think, "I'm working just as hard as I do at work!" But like the best kinds of work, editing usually holds my attention and drives me on to do more.

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Heh, sometimes I prefer editing to actually writing the story sometimes. It allows me to polish and tweak to perfection (or not :) ) . I enjoy editing others as well, but that can be time consuming depending on the level of their craft. I did beta for a while, but then it seemed that I was rewriting the story. When it gets to that point, there's no point and I think betas then are better off cutting the author loose.

Anyway, I edit as the books Self Editing for fiction Writer's by Browne and King and Novelist's Bootcamp by Todd A. Stone suggest. The trick is to do it in stages. First you look at your spelling, then dialogue, then logic/plot, then characterization, then repetitiveness, etc. That way, you can focus on one thing at a time and editing won't be such a chore. Good books, both of them. :)

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There are people out there who finds editing their work is a chore and won't do it and leave their story as is.

But there are people who love editing their work.

I usually find that people who love their work, will edit their work after a break of a few days.

On one of my stories that I wrote, it took me four years before I edited it to add new content and do a correction of sorts on a character, I liked the story when I first wrote it, but now, I love it! I even edited last year to add a new scene to the story and I love it even still.

So some people may find their editing of their work to be a chore, but some will love it.

Beth

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I consider every step of the writing process work. That being said, I enjoy revision and editing. It's like rediscovering your story all over again, and making it better at the same time. Revising drafts tends to go quicker for me than creating rough ones.

The only thing I don't like about revision is having to write an entirely new scene to replace material I had to cut because it just wasn't working.

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I rather enjoy it, but that's likely because I spend almost no time doing deep edits. I just check for spelling, grammar, and the flow of each paragraph as well as the flow between paragraphs. It allows me to reread the whole work and to enjoy the fruits of my labor somewhat.

After all, when I'm writing for this site, I'm doing it for fun, not for money, not to win an award, not to get a good grade. I'm just trying to tell a story I have in my head, and if it's too hard to make it a literary masterpiece, why do it? Plus, let's face it: having perfect grammar would already place your story in the 95th percentile of the stories on this site. Having near-perfect grammar would probably put it at least in the 80th.

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I don't find editing a chore at all, it let's me change things or add things at the last minute, and of course make sure the spelling, etc. isn't going to make me look like an idiot :huh:

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I edit as I write, so usually final editing is a pleasure, a chance to read back through and refine.

The hard work is the writing itself. Sometimes, however, work IS pleasure!

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Actually... I don't mind editing, I actually do it A LOT! (Is a perfectionist >_> and english is my second language sooo... yeeaah....) Sometimes I enjoy it... o.o; I think that editing my story makes it even much more better than not. Just my opinion... >_>

Edited by Lost_Soul
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  • 2 weeks later...

Tuffy....okay, well I find that editing my work to be....work, BUT fun work at the same time. I didn't vote because it didn't have that choice! I think it's not bad to have a beta around but it's also good to see what you need to improve on when you write. Also, editing is considered work for me since I check my work over and over again and over...okay, I think you might get the point....XD anyways yeah so its both for me!

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Editing is definitely work, but very neccessary. I'm only writing one story, and I give each chapter a once over before sending it off to my betas. But once the work is done and I have a good polished story, I have something to be proud of. So I guess the work is worth it.

Editing someone else's story is more like work than editing my own because I'm not emotionally invested in it. It isn't my story. I did beta work for other people twice. I ended up bowing out both times because my depression ups and downs combined with my really bad memory made it so that I took forever getting chapters back. I didn't think that was fair to the writter.

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I find editing just fine. I've got a system now for my writing, which I'm still refining, but for now this seems to do really well:

1. Write the story, just to get it out of my head and onto a page. The actual bits of dialogue and actions are sketched out, but only the bare bones of them. It makes a story, but not a very absorbing one.

2. Go through (probably a day or so later, anything up to a week) and add the descriptive bits. Before or after this stage I'll think over the story and the extra complexity it's gaining and add in any extra plot parts.

3. Leave it for a while, properly break state. Go to another part of the story and write that, immerse myself in some other persuit for a few days, anything. Just forget that part of the story exists. Ideally give it a few weeks.

4. Read it over and see if any amendments need making. Make them. And that's pretty much my finished product.

That's pretty much it, but means that the editing is as much a part of the writing process as the original 'getting ideas down' bit. The idea-jotting-down bit is fast and furious and exhilerating. The editing is slower, it really lets me get prosaic and I love that. My editing time is also the time when I can add lots of new plotlines and makes the whole thing really gel, so I wouldn't be without my editing for owt.

Hope that wasn't too self-indulgent.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Let me be bad and throw a curve to this thread even though it may fit better under the Beta section but the Beta section doesn't really have a conversation style thread:

How long does it take you to Edit or Beta?

For me, probably because I am not anal or meticulous about it, it doesn't take much longer than it would for me to normally read it because as I read, my mind is looking for things that don't look or sound, in my head, right. The probablem with this way is that, like a speed reader, my mind will miss small things or if I am erroneous in my head about how something is supposed to sound.

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It's been years since I beta read anything, but if the story contains few grammar errors and the author obviously read it aloud to make sure it made sense before sending it to me, it doesn't take much longer than reading it, plus at least a half hour to think up some critique for the end.

Velvet, I'm glad to see someone else starts a story the same way that I do. Once I've written the chapter for the sake of getting words on the screen, it often reads like the worst of badfic, but at least it's there and I can go back through and make it sound much better.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I forgot to mention that as well as spelling and grammar checks - I have the wriggly lines on in Word which makes names annoying sometimes - I also improve the way it reads. Another reason I enjoy it.

And when I put it up, I read it through then too, although by that time, since I'm usually weeks ahead, there's not much wrong with it.

Of course there are sometimes mistakes - extra lines, those spelling mistakes of to and too that the grammar thing doesn't always pick up despite being turned on, through and though, stuff like that.

I hate mistakes.

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