Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Itching to Edit

Last night, I ignored the boxes stacked in the kitchen and the hallway and set up my office. I've claimed a small corner of the basement and despite the view of the unfinished ceiling above my desk and the rather boring gray cement walls, it works just fine (except for my cable internet was NOT working fine last night! GRRRRR). Besides, I have posters to cover the walls. ;-)

I think my manuscript has "simmered" enough and now I need to go in and stir things up. The conference this past weekend with Judith Arnold gave me lots of great self-editing tips. There are two categories of stuff to look for in editing - The Big Stuff and the Little Stuff. :-)

Big Stuff items include:

Making sure all your scenes serve one of the four dramatic elements (or functions)
1) Exposition
2) Characterization
3) Plot
4) Content

When you look at a scene, always ask yourself this question: What dramatic function does this scene serve? And of course, some scenes can serve more than one dramatic function.

Other big stuff items include:
1) Transitions
2) Theme - in editing your book, you can really start to create parallels to your theme by coming up with imagery or metaphors to better illustrate it, enhance your manuscript, and unify your whole story

The Small Stuff includes, well, the small stuff. Spelling, grammar, POV, misplaced modifiers, adverbs, cliches, adjectives, etc.

I really like the idea of using imagery and metaphor to focus on my theme. This is where editing is fun (for me, anyway!). I love to play with the language, to whittle away at the stuff I don't need, to carve an intricate phrase that will say volumes. And now that the office is all set up (well, minus the &%$#&* internet that's not working!) I'm ready!


  1. Good luck with the editing! And good to hear you've got your office set up - hope that internet works soon :-)

  2. It is good to want to edit. I lose patience so quickly that I need all the motivation I can get.

  3. OK, I need to catch your disease : ) Thanks for the insights.. I'll use them as I edit my mss. Good luck with it!

  4. Good for you...and good luck!

  5. Good luck with your editing and thanks for the mini editing lesson! Definitely some good tips...


  6. A friend of mine always makes sure in her rewrites that each scene serves at least two of those functions. Double duty. If one of them doesn't, she rewrites and combines two scenes, to keep her writing tight.

    I think that's a fabulous idea, but I've never dissected my own work to see whether or not I'm doing that out of instinct. But I'm sure not doing it on purpose! ;-)

  7. Great tips--makes editing sound nearly fun ;)

  8. Glad you made your office a priority. That's very important.

    Have fun with the edits!

  9. Those are some great tips all whittled down into a writer friendly format. Thanks for sharing, Melissa and have fun editing!


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