As some of you know, I felt pretty overwhelmed when I edited my last chapter. So, I did some research, read some articles and now I’m trying some advice that made a lot of sense to me. The advice goes like this (and it’s so simple, I feel simple for not thinking of it myself), start with the big stuff and edit with some specific purpose in mind. Meaning, every time you edit, know what you are editing for and start with the biggest changes, working your way toward the details with each pass.
For instance, my first read through, I’m reading for any plot or scene changes or big dialogue changes. That’s it. Once I’m sure any major changes are fixed, then I can go back through to fine-tune beats (action or emotion)…and anything on a paragraph scale. Next comes checking sentence structure and word choice. Each read through, I have a specific target area and a smaller focus. Proofreading will be the last thing I will do.
Hopefully, this will help me feel less overwhelmed and less like I’m spinning in endless circles. Last time, I was all over the place and it felt self-defeating. It makes a lot of sense to start with the biggest edits first and to turn off your internal grammar Nazi until that's done. No sense in worrying about how many “thats” I’ve misused until I have all the plot, scenes and paragraphs whipped into shape.
Anyway, I thought this was great advice and thought I’d pass it on. Writing (most, but not all, times) is the comparatively easy part, it’s the editing that feels unbearably torturous. Having a plan of action seems the best way to go in this case! Good luck to all the writers out there.