May 20, 2010

How I edit

On Tuesday I posted a piece I wrote for a contest Natalie Whipple hosted a while back. Today I'm posting some edits to show you how my brain works. It's just a small sample (mostly line edits), and the edits on my novel are far more extensive, but this is basically my method.

But first, I wanted to share the lovely 'editing pens' my sister-in-law sent me from Japan:

They are made by Zebra and I love them.



Click the image to make larger:
This is what my novel edits look like:

Sorry so small, but I don't want to give anything away just yet!

Do you hand edit? If not, is there a particular way you edit on the computer? Do you use 'Track Changes' in Word? Tell me about your method. 

14 comments:

Kirsten said...

I definitely hand-edit like this -- with colored pens, yay! It's so much more hands-on than computer editing, and allows me to experiment and doodle and watch the story change. My pages look a lot like yours when I'm done with them :)

Jamie said...

Thanks so much for this post! Great to see your editing process in the 'flesh'.
And also great to see that I'm not the only one who makes my pages bleed (though your purple is much less painful to see!)

Sarah Enni said...

I think you really, seriously, HAVE to edit your work with a physical copy at least once. I know from my day job that there's something so different from a piece of paper and a computer screen- you will catch things on one but not the other. (Plus track changes makes me bonkers.)

You have such amazing handwriting! And I am really jealous of those pens, they look awesome.

It's so neat to see everyone's unique editing process. Do you go through the whole book with long-hand edits before you make any changes in the .doc?

Abby Stevens said...

Kirsten - I completely agree. And I love using colored pens. My SIL is leaving Japan this year, and I must stock up before she leaves, because I just know I'll never be able to get them again. And the lovely thing about those pens (I should have taken a picture of it) is that they are double-ended, with a fat marker on one end and a fine-tip on the other.

Jamie - Thank you! And yes, my pages have so much ink on them (even after multiple edits), but the purple is awfully pretty!

Sarah - Yes! I'm sure you know better than anyone. And thank you. I'm left-handed, and I often get the comment that my handwriting is very neat for a lefty, which is weird, because my 2 best friends in HS were also lefties, and their handwriting was equally neat, but hey, and compliment is a compliment, right? :D

Track Changes drives me bonkers, too. My former boss loved the feature, which made my work life frustrating.

I typically print out a chapter or a few chapters at a time after I've done substantial edits and want to do a read-through, or if I'm struggling with a particular chapter. Pen on paper always feels so much more concrete to me.

The Blue Lipstick Samurai said...

Your edits are pretty! I'm jealous. Mine look like ADHD spiders flailed about in ink then scuttered across my manuscript. I do them by hand, but my method could be a novel all its own....

Abby Stevens said...

The bottom edits are more indicative of what my edits really look like (except for whatever reason I was editing with pen that day). I use a lot more shorthand (such as just a cursive "i" instead of writing out italics) once I get several pages in. It starts nice and quickly goes downhill!

Ella Press said...

Uuu, pretty pens!
I'm still in the process of finishing my MS, but once it's done, I'll definitely print it and write notes on it. I think it's a wonderful experience for an aspiring, or established, writer. You get really into your story.

Rachel said...

Hand edits, definitely. I like to do several passes, sometimes, and that's when the colored pens come in handy; so I can tell which version was done when. Sometimes I'll write in blue on the first edit, and on the first page put the date in that color. Next run through, different color, same modus operendai.

Then again, things always seems to change between my notes and typing the changes, anyway. :P

Heidi said...

Mine is red pen and i circle really obvious changes and don't like to flip to a new page till the one before is covered in red!

Molly said...

I feel like I get more accomplished by hand editing. I love my Pilot G2 pens- normally I get them in black, but I think I might need to get some other colors for some projects I'll be working on pretty soon... :)

Candace said...

:) I'm glad these pens are coming in handy. Don't worry about stocking up, I already got you covered! ;)

Sandy Shin said...

I definitely hand edit, also, albeit with a red pen rather than multi-colored pens (which I should totally buy). Thank you for sharing this with us!

Lydia Kang said...

So cool to show us your actual pages! I'm going to print out my MS soon and do the same.

Abby Stevens said...

Ella - Thanks! I agree, it's really nice to have it all printed out to see and feel it (almost like it's a step closer to having a real, printed book).

Rachel - Things change a lot between my notes and typed changes, too.

Heidi - That's probably a good thing! If we're brutal on our own work, hopefully that means someone else has to be less so later in the beta process.

Molly - I've heard a lot of people say they love those G2's. Maybe I should give some away on here, lol.

Candace - Oooooh, I can't wait! Thank you! I truly love those pens.

Sandy - Thank you! Red is good, too, but it seems so much more... I dunno, fun, I guess, with pretty colors. :)

Lydia - I'm glad you enjoyed it. :) Good luck with your edits!

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