Monday, April 7, 2014

Editing In Layers

I remember when I was working on my Masters Degree in Literacy the rounds of editing I would go through with my adviser. I went in one day for some feedback and she wanted to make some changes to one of my chapters. I have to say, I was frustrated. Why? She wanted me to do some things that I had changed in one of the earlier rounds. When I noted this to her, the comment was eye-opening. She simply stated that she didn't really see how things worked out until we had cleared away a couple of other issues.

That is the thing about editing. There are a lot of things that have to get fixed. Not only are we looking at plot issues, but we are also looking at narration, dialogue and so forth. Sometimes, we might make a recommendation to do something that in a later round, we will want to reverse and go in another direction. I always think of it like peeling off layers of the manuscript. We have to get to the heart of the story to really see what is going on.

I am in the middle of some edits right now with a client and in this last round, I am seeing there are some things I told her to eliminate that now I see we might want to work back in. Not that we are going to add all of the material, but we will have to add in some.

As you edit your projects, or those of your critique partners, you might want to take this approach. In stead of trying to fix everything, just take it piece by piece. Focus on one element of the plot first and then focus on another. Don't get frustrated if you have to go back to an original idea you hacked in the first round. It will happen. Remember the goal is to make this a great project.

1 comment:

  1. I always liken edits and revisions to that line in Shrek where he tries to explain Ogres are like onions. Each layer brings something new.