As a writer, I have many problems such as wanting to rewrite even the first sentence of a newly started story. Or even stopping half through the middle of a story and wanting to start over because I didn’t add one small detail while knowing full well that this is just the draft. I have many more problems but I won’t go into too much details otherwise we’d be here all day. But I will say that all those problems tend to boil down to one thing in particular and that is: editing.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I spend more time in the editing process than anything else. Now, I know that’s not a particularly a bad thing but, because it’s me, I tend to obsess about it way too much. Editing, like anything else, needs moderation. Most of y’all know that I have too many projects and I have issues with committing to just one project – my reasoning for this is because I like to have the flexibility and there’s always the need to be productive because I don’t want to be stuck on only one story. I need to be busy- and it seems like I never get anything done.
Believe it or not, I happen to have progressed in the editing process. I’ve entered the line-by-line edits. This isn’t particularly something I have dread but it means there is progress. Unlike before, I’m not changing the content of what has already been written. If anything, I am trying to make the writing clearer. How’s that any different from rewriting?
Well, to put it simply. I’m simply adjusting the grammar. I’m looking for repeated phrases as well as making sure that the sentences are pulling their weight. This means that I’m cutting down on those fill in words that can be replaced with others that work better. A sentence can become shorter but still convey the same meaning as the before but better.
Before, I mentioned that I noticed that I used a lot of passive writing like “was running” or “was reading” instead of ran and read. The line-by-line edits have also helped me noticed more of my passive writing and, because of it, I can change it to a much stronger verb. The goal is to make the writing clear and stronger.
I’ve found that changing my mentality to “let me read through this and see if it makes sense” helped a lot. To me, it is different from all the other times I’ve read the story because, back then, I reread every paragraph and scene to decide whether or not that belonged there or if I needed to move it somewhere else. Plus, as long as I keep it mind that this reading is for clarity, I can make it work. If I’m confused over something then, I know my readers will be confused.
There’s no easy way to line-by-line edit or to edit in general. Sometimes all you have to do is sit down and do it. I know what works for me and I know the type person I am with certain things and I can work around that. I believe that writing leads to self discovery of yourself, your skills, and your passion. They way you write and edit all depends on what works best for you and no one else.
Though a bit redundant, find what works for you. Take it one step at a time. I find that putting too much on my plate doesn’t make me productive. It makes me stressed out because I want to everything at once and I know that’s not possible.
Like all the good things in life: do in moderation.
Kassandra Carrillo received her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Houston. She enjoys writing dark paranormal fiction. However, she has dabbled in writing fantasy as well, science fiction, western, short stories, poetry, and script writing but she prefers writing novels. In her spare time, Kassandra edits, proofreads, and copy-edits college essays and writes content for Gameway (ANDi Games Ltd).