Geek Thoughts: editing


First draft: get it on the paper (or screen). No editing. No criticism. Crap is fine, just get it down. Leave markers in trouble spots, but don’t stop.

First revision: Quick pass over everything. Get the obvious flaws fixed. Wordsmithing, checking for horrible words, passive voice, adverbly writing, etc.  Skip over the hard stuff. About half of the markers get fixed here.

Second revision: Careful read over everything. Cross checking notes. About half of the remaining markers get fixed here.

Third revision. No excuses. It ends here, today. To opportunistic skipping around. Once you start fixing the chapter, you finish it.

Final polish: Wordsmithing, checking for horrible words, passive voice, adverbly writing, etc.

More collected Geek Thoughts at

Related Posts

3 Replies to “Geek Thoughts: editing”

  1. Triage is about maintaining three categories, and that is how I tend to write the first revision: keep the good, cut the obvious crap, defer everything else to some time else or somewhere else.

    You make a good breakdown of the process, but I’m curious what your thoughts are about “Draft 0: the outline”… A friend just completed a first draft of a novel he had planned in a three day marathon writing session (see link below), but he couldn’t have done this without an incredibly meticulous outline, from which he deviated frequently, of course.

    My past attempts at NaNoWriMo have tended to peter out because I ran out of outline. When I have succeeded, it has been through the use of STACKS and STACKS of index cards. What is surprising I find is how liberating just getting it down on screen feels when you turn the crap filters off.

    Are you planning to do NaNoWriMo this year?


  2. I’ve done stuff both heavily outlined in advance and totally free-form. I can’t really say one has worked better than the other for me. They’re just…different.

    I will probably try Eastgate Tinderbox as an organizational tool soon. It’s my reward for finishing Revision 3. :-)

    NaNoWriMo is still up in the air for this year. If I do it, it will definitely be in the non-previously-outlined category… If the Tinderbox experiment goes well, I might try to write some hypertext. -m

  3. Tinderbox is a good idea… I miss being a mac user! November is coming up soon and my plans for NaNoWriMo are also up in the air. The advantage of hyper-outlining as a legitimate way to get started early doesn’t actually make it much easier to make time, when the crunch hits.

    My own plan for this year’s attempt involve a metafiction using content scraped from my ‘blog, docbook as an intermediary, and several layers of xquery to integrate blogspot’s atom comments into the main narrative. Not exactly hypertext, more like instant House of Leaves or Infinite Jest.

    At least that’s the plan, time-willing ;)

Comments are closed.

© All Right Reserved
Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Shree Clean by Canyon Themes.