How fast do you edit?

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Sanderling
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Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Sanderling » October 29th, 2011, 3:15 pm

Hillsy wrote:Sanderling: 3500 per hour? I'm running at about 600...which means I'll need to put in.............Christ! 328 hours of editing! I may cry.....

Well, seems I'm not the slowest anyway. It's just the law of diminishing returns: I was worried I was spending too much time adjusting sentances for no more reason than, well, I can (and of course I think they look better purely because they are new). Anyways.....back to the edit.
Goodness, Hillsy! Working out the math, that says you've got a 197,000 word manuscript... That's quite a project. Since I keep hearing, time and again, that agents/editors tend to be nervous considering books of that length, could you split your novel into two? Then you only have 164 hours of editing. At least to complete the first volume. ;)

At a writing conference I attended last year, Robert J Sawyer gave the lunchtime address. He talked about Heinlein's Rules, which I hadn't heard of prior to his speech. It was the single most inspiring thing from that conference (and indeed much of my writing life so far) and I've got a copy taped to the wall behind my desk where I can remind myself of it. (See my signature for a link to Sawyer's version of the Rules.)

One of the things he said in the address (he unfortunately uses different words on the webpage) is that when tackling edits/revisions it's often hard to know when you're done. It's easy to keep going, tweaking sentences and paragraphs. But his suggestion was that if you find yourself looking at the changes and rather than saying "yes, that's definitely better" you're saying "well, it's different... I think it's better?" you're done with the editing. From that point on you're fiddling, not improving. Sawyer reworded Heinlein's third rule to be: "Don't tinker endlessly with your story."

That may not have been what you were getting at, but perhaps it'll be helpful anyway. :)
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"Because if you have at least a modicum of talent and if you live by these six rules, you will make it."
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maybegenius
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Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by maybegenius » October 29th, 2011, 7:17 pm

For me, it depends entirely on how much work I still need to do and what sort of editing I'm doing. Line edits? I can do an entire 70-80K word manuscript in about three days' worth of work. Developmental edits? A lot longer. It takes me maybe a week to make it through my manuscript with notes, and then I have to actually go back through and incorporate those edits, which can take anywhere from a few days to a month depending on whether or not I have to rewrite scenes or do major restructuring. And then of course I have to go back through and do it again :lol:
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GingerWrite
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Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by GingerWrite » October 29th, 2011, 10:36 pm

Right after I finish a project my editing crawls along because I was so happy to get to the end that it's hard to imagine going back to the beginning again. But once I'm nearing the climax things really perk up and I probably get through 3000 words an hour. Of course, that could just mean my climax is better than the rest of the story....but that's a topic for another time :D
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Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by writersink » October 31st, 2011, 12:51 pm

Verrrrrrrrrrrry slowly

I'm on my 3rd draft now- and have been for the past 3 months. I think it has something to do with the fact that I wrote my 1st draft so quickly my beginning didn't match my ending i.e halfway through the book some characters disappeared and some magically just walked in and started talking to the rest of my characters like they had been there the whole time...
You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. ~Ray Bradbury

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dios4vida
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Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by dios4vida » October 31st, 2011, 3:30 pm

Sanderling wrote:(See my signature for a link to Sawyer's version of the Rules.)
You know, Sanderling, I've seen your signature all this time and never clicked through. I just did and read those rules and WOW! Those are good. It sure made me feel good to look through them and think "yeah...I'm there! I've written, finished, stopped tinkering, submitted, resubmitted, and am still writing."

Yay! That means I might make it someday!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Sanderling
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Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Sanderling » October 31st, 2011, 10:01 pm

dios4vida wrote:
Sanderling wrote:(See my signature for a link to Sawyer's version of the Rules.)
You know, Sanderling, I've seen your signature all this time and never clicked through. I just did and read those rules and WOW! Those are good. It sure made me feel good to look through them and think "yeah...I'm there! I've written, finished, stopped tinkering, submitted, resubmitted, and am still writing."

Yay! That means I might make it someday!
Aren't they, Brenda? I love them for the truth in them - because even if your writing isn't good enough with the first or second or fourth thing you write, his rule number 6 ensures that eventually you will be, and even if the first or second or fortieth agent doesn't bite, his rule number 5 means most likely someone eventually will. I've never got such a "Yes! I can do this, I can make it!" feeling as I did after listening to his speech.

Incidentally, if you've got the time and inclination, the conference recorded his address and posted it to YouTube in three parts. Worth watching.
Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsGchVTK3Uo
Part 2 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H10WQrLdGAE
Part 3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZtPYpvh1fA

Related to both rules 5 and 6, too, I like to remind myself that even the big success stories usually have to follow either or both. Submissions to many agents, and/or the book they sold wasn't their first. But they persisted. Because if you don't keep going, of course you won't make it.
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"Because if you have at least a modicum of talent and if you live by these six rules, you will make it."
--Robert J. Sawyer, speaking here of Heinlein's Rules.

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Hillsy
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Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Hillsy » November 1st, 2011, 6:21 am

Sanderling wrote: Goodness, Hillsy! Working out the math, that says you've got a 197,000 word manuscript... That's quite a project. Since I keep hearing, time and again, that agents/editors tend to be nervous considering books of that length, could you split your novel into two? Then you only have 164 hours of editing. At least to complete the first volume. ;)
Well the real rough draft was 287000, so I've already done some pretty major surgery...=0). I write epic science fiction/fantasy so the lenght isn't unsurprising. And as Brandon Sanderson said, "I wanted to write 300K word epics, so I just wrote better until they couldn't turn me down"
Sanderling wrote: But his suggestion was that if you find yourself looking at the changes and rather than saying "yes, that's definitely better" you're saying "well, it's different... I think it's better?" you're done with the editing. From that point on you're fiddling, not improving. Sawyer reworded Heinlein's third rule to be: "Don't tinker endlessly with your story."

That may not have been what you were getting at, but perhaps it'll be helpful anyway. :)
That's exactly what I'm getting at. Sawyers interpretation of Heinleins laws was one of the first bits of writing advice I came across on the web...=0).

Problem I find is with tinkering is when style and clarity collide. You forget that the primary function of a sentance is to convey information - so in essence a bland, clear sentence is better than a beautiful, nebulous one. However, sentences are rarely both. And so you get sucked into this spiral of trying to make each passage a little bit clearer, or a little bit more fluid (depending on it's flaws) which can end up in astronomical amounts of effort for very little gain. In reality the first question should be "Is this clear/will the reader understand fully?" and if the answer is yes, leave it the hell alone.

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