05 June 2012

Does Editing Take Anyone Else Really Long?

crushed paper - writer's block - crumpled paper with unfocused background
Anyone else really hate how tough editing is? 


I finished the first draft of my book in the first part of this year and I am continuing to edit it. And you know what? It's taking me really long. Granted I did hand write the novel, but even if I hadn't, I'm not even looking at the first few chapters yet. I would be surprised as all get out if I end up finishing this rewrite before the year ends.





At first my concern was that my book won't be long enough. I have only fifteen chapters and my first two chapters are only a little over 3,000. Well, if you do the math that would mean my fantasy novel would be around 50,000 words plus. That definitely isn't long enough for a book and really isn't long enough for a fantasy novel.

And then I got to Chapter 3. Chapter 3 hit around 3,500 words and I'm just a little over halfway done with it. And I've looked into the chapters ahead and those are very long. So, I'm thinking I will end up around 70,000 words (fingers crossed, of course) which is normal.

I have a lot of work ahead of me, I know. A part of this is the fact that the novel is handwritten. Another reason is that a good chunk of this novel was written nearly ten years ago. I've become a better writer since, so I am rewriting a lot of new content. I'm hoping as I go along the later chapters (which means chapters 9 through 15) are better. But even then there are elements in the story I need to add that will take even more time flesh out and make sure of continuity.

So you know what I found out as a result of all this? Editing is a lot of work. I know, I know, big news right?

Since I have faced the fact that editing this novel will take me really long, I am starting other projects. Earlier this month I laid out my goals for the month of May and I obviously bit off way more than I can chew and didn't get half of what I wanted to get done (but hey, I got two short stories done and will finish two chapters rewrites! That's something!).

Short stories will only be fulfilling for so long and I am toying with that idea of starting a sequel novel to this fantasy novel I am working on (which will be a brand new challenge for my characters, not an ongoing battle the goes into the second book. I would have kept it in the first book if that was the case). OR...I am considering starting a brand new fantasy novel that will take me quite a lot of research before I can begin to write it.

All of this would be easier to consider if I had a full-time job and a regular schedule to work around. To start anything new like this when I'm not working feels very bad, so short stories and novel editing is probably going to be it for now.

While I swore off talking about writing on my blog, I had to put this out there. Does editing take anyone else really long? I may take all of this year and probably most of next year to finish the number of rewrites I know I have to get to. That is the editing I need to get done before I show anyone my drafts, of course.

How long does editing and rewriting take you? How many drafts do you go through before you show anyone your work? 

24 comments:

  1. YES! Unfortunately, I usually "edit" by just rewriting. It works sometimes...but then I just have a whole other story more often than not because it changes so much.

    When I can ignore the rewriting/fresh story bug, I can usually pretty fast. I start rereading and just sort of "tweak" as I go - if a line isn't quite right or is missing something, I'll go in and punch it up, etc. If I get to an entire section that doesn't work, I might highlight or bracket it to remind myself that it needs some work.

    Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of stamina for it...I get discouraged and then stop. That's the part I need to build up: dealing with the junky stuff and getting all the way to the end before I give up. :) In other words, Nicole, I feel your pain!!

    (It's easier to edit other people's work, haha. :) )

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It really is easier to edit other people's work!!!

      I am the same way. I have the rewriting/fresh story bug. But I am really trying hard to work with what I have. I had that mind frame of just work with what is there as I began the rewriting process. Otherwise the fresh story thing is a little overwhelming!

      Delete
  2. I get a lot of people to read my work before I submit and edit. So I spend a lot of time waiting for replies and then doing the edits. As a result I have two works in for publication editing (out of my hands), and three with readers/pre-readers/edits.

    Here's my process: Write. Write quickly, write consistently, put a good burn in and try to turn out the entire first draft (usually 50K) in a month or two. It's rough, it's messy, it usually has plot holes.

    First pass - I give my rough draft a read through, make it readable, fill in holes, expand where obviously necessary.

    Send to readers - I have MANY readers, so I pick a few I think will enjoy the work at hand and pass the piece off to them. It's usually 2-3 months before I hear back from everyone.

    First re-write (2nd draft) - After hearing back from all (or most) of my readers, I take their comments and go through the piece again, start to finish. Usually my readers find several areas that need drastic changes or are missing entirely.

    Second readthrough - Some readers are willing to look again, and I send it back to those. I also try to find a beta-reader at this point to help with finer details.

    Third draft - Using those comment, I compile a third and somewhat final draft. At this point I'm usually feeling pretty confident about trying to find a publisher.

    So, yeah, that can easily take a year. My sequel to Cargon was done first draft in February and I'm still on draft 2 with 2 readers to hear back from. One reader gave me such intensive feedback, however, that I've already started the rewrites and will include theirs when they come. I was hoping to have the sequel ready to publish by the end of the year... my hope is dwindling. :p

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow good for you for being so open with showing people. Honestly that is my biggest struggle. But I am so glad to hear that it takes you a year!! I'm certain it will for me!

      Delete
  3. You know, I'm backwards from you! I took forever to write the first draft (a little over a year). When I went to edit, I only had to rewrite a few parts, and those were the beginning ones. I think you hit on it totally - I had taken so long to get the first draft done that I had become a better writer and so had more changes to the writing to make it better. By the time I got to the end, there wasn't so much to change. I also found that I lengthened my manuscript because I had to add "stuff" to make the story understandable. So, even though our process may be different, the time it will have taken both of us to write a novel will probably end up being about the same amount. I can't remember who said it, but I love the quote "Writing a novel is like running a marathon." Those short stories are like sprints :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes!!! A novel is definitely a marathon! And that's also the tough part of having a novel takeso long is because you do grow as a writer and you just have to go back and change more! I'm finally to a point though where I really am excited about my book to see what happens next in chapter four (finished 3 over the weekend). And that is a good good feeling.

      Delete
  4. Oh my goodness, yes! I finished the rough draft of "Alice Will" in 4 months (working around the day job), but spent the next 9 months editing, revising, rewriting, griping, cursing, and rewriting some more. "Tilt" isn't coming along nearly as fast what with the moving/house remodeling/yard work/house sale, so I'm sure when I'm finally ready to edit I'll be in real trouble!

    Good luck to you, and the end IS in sight!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehe, you're editing process sounds just like mine!! Hehe, tons of griping!!! Hehe. And talk about a reality check, when I first finished it I thought my rewrite would be done by June. Wow. Wrong! :) I keep repeating my mantra though, "Editing is not forever. Editing is not forever."

      Delete
  5. Editing is a fairly quick process for me. Not because of any great skill on my part, but because I am so slow writing the original draft that it is fairly decent when I'm finished. As far as showing people, I let my critique group look it over as soon as I finish writing it the first time.

    Probably the thing to keep in mind is that I am a plotter. I spend a week coming up with the outline and when that is finished I can usually write straight from that. I know how many chapters I'll have and an initial idea of what I want in each of those chapters. So a rewrite is usually adding some details, making a few corrections, or pulling out something that doesn't work. I normally don't have to rewrite the whole thing to fix any plot problems.

    Of course, that's just me. I realize people each have their own methods of writing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Funny thing is Randy I'm a plotter too! I don't think I would have been able to go back to this novel had I not been a plotter. For me, what took so long is that I started this first many years ago and it evolved and even continued to evolve after I was done. Finally I feel like I am on solid ground, but it's a slow process.

      You have guts to show your first draft to people!! Boy howdy! I couldn't! :)

      Delete
  6. Yep - editing is taking me ages! I'm still doing it...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to know I'm not alone!! :) How long is yours taking you?

      Delete
  7. My manuscript was finished a year and a half ago and I'm still editing it. The actual editing process is fast but I findmyself constantly rewording things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I'm so glad to hear that!! It may take me just as long. I get obsessive with rewriting and editing.

      Delete
  8. I take a really long time to edit with lots of passes, but less the more I write. I probably revised my second novel twenty times before I got to the point to give it to beta readers. I think this one will only take five passes, maybe less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's good! Only five times! I may see te twenty time mark for my current novel. It needs a lot of work!

      Delete
  9. I can write pretty quickly once I get going and have the plot outlined. (I'm a half pantser, half plotter, plotting out only a few chapters at a time before writing them, then moving on to the next.) What I find with my editing is it takes a lot more concentration, so it takes a bit longer. No meditative flow writing, anymore.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh I miss that meditative flow. I love it. You can get into a zone. No zone with editing. It's more like trying to complete a crossword puzzle.

      Delete
  10. Yes, editiing takes ages. But it's worth it. I edit evvery post before it goes up. I'm a big fan of editing; when I was teaching writing, my biggest message to my students was that you must learn how to become your own best editor. And that means lots of revvision!
    Been meaning to drop by and see if you want to link up with my new writing workshop hop. It's a little different for a hop but working out. I havve my first prompt up for another day if you want to try it. Would love to have you! http://sandrasfiberworks.blogspot.com/2012/05/having-taught-fiction-writing-for-years.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Being your best editor is so important!!

      Oh I'd love to join!! I'll see if I can do a post this week! Thanks for the link on that!

      Delete
  11. Anyone can write, but the mark of a professional is editing. And yes, it can be very difficulot and time consuming, especially if you want to do it right.

    I've written two posts on this. The first one covers the easiest form of editing, in my opnion, which is cutting extraneous words and fixing spelling:
    http://rdmeyerwrites.blogspot.com/2011/12/editing.html

    The second is harder, which is cutting and editing for content, because now you have to make real decisions about whether or not you can do it better:
    http://rdmeyerwrites.blogspot.com/2012/05/cutting-for-content.html

    Either way, it's not something I can do immediately after finishing my work. I have to put it away for a month or more in order to get fresh eyes.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'll have to differ with the last person who said "Anyone can write", but yea, editing is quite important.... and editing is writing, for the most part.
    I finished a roughly 138K novel last year, and just getting around to editing it is an ordeal. There's quite a lot of continuity problems to contend with. I have a copy of the novel on the computer, and one hard copy. I've actually started editing on the digital copy, which is probably stupid. In the long run I'll have to edit the hard copy, and then retype the whole thing, which I so don't look forward to. There's no telling how long this "first" edit will take......I'm figuring a year, if I keep up with it.

    I let my niece and my best friend read the novel after completing the first draft, but not until then.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Editing is tough and grueling, but very necessary. Editing is more than just punctuation and grammar. When you go back to read, you need to make sure that what you are saying is clear and understood by the reader; the reader is not in the writer's head and some things need to be explained (or shown). Also, we need to look at our writing style; is there too much telling rather than showing (something I've recently been reminded of) or are there to many flowery adjectives? Is there too much jargon? There are a lot of different issues related to editing that even include the plot and if it makes sense; occasionally we might have skipped an important point or mixed up characters names. That is why we have to read a manuscript several times; once could never catch all of this. And it helps to have another set of eyes (qualified ones, too). And we have to humble ourselves and seriously listen to others opinions (not all are valid, but many are gems of wisdom that will help us if we let them guide us). Sometimes I find editing takes more time than writing the manuscript, but in the end if we work hard we hope to have an excellent, shining manuscript that everyone will love to read. Take care!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sadly, yes. Sure wish I had a good editor in the house! ;-)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! The good, the bad, and the ugly, so tell me what you have to say! And if you like what you read (or at least find yourself entertained), follow my blog to read more. Although I'm not always able to respond to comments immediately, I appreciate every one of them.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

AddThis

All Blog Posts Belong to Nicole Pyles. Powered by Blogger.