Wednesday, May 4, 2011

30 Sarah-steps to editing

So, I've been doing a bunch of editing lately. It's had it's own, unique ups and downs, but I've settled into a relatively stable schedule . . . which I thought I'd share. Yay! So here we go, how I go about editing a chapter of my manuscript:
  1. Sit down at desk to start paper edits. This is a very serious process.
  2. Check email, Twitter, and RSS aggregator.
  3. Turn on appropriate music. Loudly.
  4. Doodle flowers in red pen on scrap paper.
  5. Make notes on manuscript in same red pen.
  6. Write out extended bits of dialogue on a post-it note.
  7. Highlight passive verbs because they suck.
  8. Chew on red pen while reading.
  9. Laugh hysterically and exclaim, "Now you're a horrible sentence!"
  10. Repeat steps 3-9 until paper edits are completed.
  11. Cheer.
  12. Move computer to bed because it's comfy.
  13. Look at email, Twitter, and RSS aggregator.
  14. Work through chapter and start implementing paper edit notes.
  15. Re-write some sentences.
  16. Delete giant chunks of unnecessary wordage.
  17. Glare at cranky paragraphs.
  18. Eat some Lifesavers.
  19. Re-work cranky paragraphs. Pages worth of cranky paragraphs.
  20. Exclaim to manuscript, "I hate you!"
  21. Look at Twitter.
  22. Look at manuscript for two minutes.
  23. Look at Twitter again. No one has said anything.
  24. Look at sleeping cat and exclaim, "You're so adorable!"
  25. Manhandle cat for several minutes.
  26. Sigh.
  27. Option 1: Have a meltdown and call critique partner for help.
  28. Option 2: Break for food or something mindless.
  29. Option 3: Suck it up and repeat steps 14-20 until chapter is done.
  30. Cheer.
And that's it! A lot of procrastination, yes, I know. But I still get stuff done in the end, which is totally all that matters. But now I'm curious about the rest of you. What is your editing process? Do you lock yourself away in a study, or are you at the kitchen table with everyone else in the family? Do you need silence? Can you edit and watch TV at the same time? Tell me in the comments.


Birgit said...

Now that sounds oddly familiar :-D !
As for myself, I need peace and quiet, or loud music. Preferably no internet in the near vicinity, because we all know how THAT'll end. And endless soliloquies, some of the swearing kind, some of the cheering kind. Oh, and sugar. I need tons of sweets to keep me going and not banging my head onto hard surfaces.

Sarah Robertson said...

Hee hee, I think the endless soliloquies is the best part. I probably talk more to myself during editing than any other time. :P Glad to see I'm not alone in that!

Erin F. said...

Thanks for giving me a laugh and reassuring me that I'm not the only one who procrastinates. As long as the work gets done eventually...

When I'm editing, even more than when I'm drafting, I need quiet. When I'm drafting, I can have the TV or music on without trouble. During editing, I prefer to avoid distraction.

Best wishes with your editing!

Erin @ Quitting My Day Job

Brenna Braaten said...

I have a deep, unexplained affinity for #27. I wonder why.

Actually, I think this is great. I'm excited to get to this point. It seems like it's a smart list of things to do. And totally all the procrastination (if not less) that I'll be doing when I get there.

Sarah Robertson said...

Haha, it's always good to hear that I'm not the only one that procrastinates! :)

I've gotten to this point where I just listen to a lot of the same music when I'm writing/editing. It's awesome, because it helps set the mood pretty quickly, but I wish I could start listening to something new. >_>

Hope your writing/editing is going well too!

Sarah Robertson said...

I can't wait until you're here too!

I'm particularly fond of 24-25. Probably because they involve the cat. Speaking of which, I think I'm going to go snuggle with her. :)

Katespin said...

This post was way too funny, thanks for the laugh. I am glad to hear that you are getting some work done amidst all that procrastination.

Sarah Robertson said...

Glad you found it amusing. :) And yeah, I try to intersperse some progress in with all that procrastination.

Brenna Braaten said...

At first I read that as "spanking" which messed me up. Anywho. I can't wait to be here.

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