How fast do you edit?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
User avatar
Hillsy
Posts: 303
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 4:33 am
Location: Gravesend, UK
Contact:

How fast do you edit?

Post by Hillsy » October 27th, 2011, 8:34 am

(This subject seems to be in the wind at the moment)

Simple question really. How fast do you edit? Do you have seperate speeds for line editing, style editing and plot editing? Do you do all three at once?

I write at about 1000 words per hour, or roughly 3 pages. I edit at about 2 pages an hour......I'm pretty sure I'm doing it wrong :?:

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 27th, 2011, 9:06 am

I think this question depends entirely on HOW you edit. I personally edit as I write. Before I start writing for the day, I usually go back and read the chapter I recently finished, sometimes several chapters back and while I'm reading, I edit. Sometimes the edits are just grammar based, sometimes I remove or rewrite whole scenes. Some days instead of writing anything at all, I just reread everything I've writte and edit as I go. My final product ends up being more polished so that further edits are pretty minimally invasive. This is a SLOW way of writing and editing. But it's mine.

I'm not sure that there's a right way or a wrong way to edit. I don't know that it matters how fast or slow you go, so much as it matters if your method works for you. If you are able to get at the problems and fix them, it doesn't matter the process. I think everyone takes this differently. I think maybe the project itself even dictates how quickly or slowly the process goes. My stories that required heavy research on topics I'm not familiar with require a LOT more very slow, very methodical editing than others.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by polymath » October 27th, 2011, 10:00 am

Hillsy wrote:(This subject seems to be in the wind at the moment)

Simple question really. How fast do you edit? Do you have seperate speeds for line editing, style editing and plot editing? Do you do all three at once?

I write at about 1000 words per hour, or roughly 3 pages. I edit at about 2 pages an hour......I'm pretty sure I'm doing it wrong :?:
Uh, I don't know if that's your process sequence, line editing, style editing, then plot editing, but it's illustrative of a potentially less productive critical path process than my experiences with struggling writers who make the cognitive leap to productive writing and my own writing has shown me works out for best outcomes.

My time on task depends on what kind of rewriting, revision, edits I'm doing. Large scale approaches, substantial drafting and rewriting for content and organization, craft particulars, and it's recursive, several passes, maybe dozens, and out of sequence. What's missing, what's out of order, what's extra, what then needs adjustment and readjustment.

I come back to expression time and time again until I have a firm voice(s) well in hand.

Double-checking facts, checking logic (causation -- cause and effect credibility), checking tension (empathy and suspense), checking antagonism (purpose and problem), this pass is a lighter craft pass or two. Then back again to voice, maybe revisit craft a time or two again.

Once it's all well in hand then and only then do I focus on mechanical style, last and final passes, grammar, spelling, punctuation, formatting, yada, yada, yada. Which I rip through at a screaming pace.

All told, of late now I've got a productive process I'm comfortable with, it comes out to about one hour raw draft writing per thousand words, two hours rewriting, five hours revising, ten minutes editing, a few minutes longer than eight hours per thousand words. It seems to me though the time on task will decline as I build a tighter critical path process.
Spread the love of written word.

User avatar
dios4vida
Posts: 1119
Joined: February 22nd, 2010, 4:08 pm
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by dios4vida » October 27th, 2011, 12:12 pm

I'm starting to think that Sommer and I write the same way.

I'm a slow, edit-as-I-go writer. I try very hard not to just put anything down, but try to make it decent. Not good, not great, just decent. Not something I cringe at when I read. (My exception to this is dialogue - my rough drafts are filled with basic conversations and dialogue tags to clue me in to the inflections, I go back and refine the actual dialogue later cause I'm not too good at that part.) For me, writing a rough draft like this (75,000ish words) takes about 12-16 months.

Editing for me has always been pretty easy. I'm the annoying person who points out typos in menus and closed-captioning. I've even caught myself correcting my own grammar as I speak (as in cutting my own sentence short because I split my infinitives). So editing that way goes really fast for me. I can edit an entire book in a long weekend, if I'm really dedicated.

Double-checking causation, plot-flow, foreshadowing, characterization, and those other writerly tricks is what hangs me up. I've been known to stare at my white boards and outlines for hours just trying to keep it all straight and finding where I need to fix things. Doing those kinds of revisions take me a few months, usually around 4ish.
Brenda :)

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

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 27th, 2011, 12:29 pm

dios4vida wrote:I'm starting to think that Sommer and I write the same way.
I think you're right. :-) I don't think there are many of us. We'll be a small club, but a mighty one.

I've never been good with just sitting down and writing through a novel with the intention of going back and fixing it. I have sort of the "Do it right the first time" problem, but that's fine. I don't mind being slow when it feels right to do it this way. I can't imagine moving on from a chapter to the next when I know that the chapter is all broken and I know I'm going to change what happened. To me a story is interlocked from beginning to end and if something early on has got to go or be changed, I can't move forward until it is. I honestly wouldn't know how.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

User avatar
Cookie
Posts: 540
Joined: September 20th, 2010, 11:18 am
Location: Berkshires
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Cookie » October 27th, 2011, 12:56 pm

I edit as I go too. I can't help it. Which is half the reason I failed last NaNo.

I've been doing my current revision, which is more of a rewrite, for months now. But I don't work on it every day, and I'm doing a complete POV change, which requires a LOT of revision. Line edits and grammatical errors I can plow through pretty fast though.

User avatar
MattLarkin
Posts: 346
Joined: July 31st, 2011, 9:37 am
Location: St Petersburg, Florida
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by MattLarkin » October 27th, 2011, 12:59 pm

I often edit pretty fast--but I do a lot of planning ahead before I write anything. So when I'm editting, I can go through and check for typos or word choice pretty quickly. I do make lots of typos, but mostly my original drafts are relatively careful in word choice.

This is very much a matter of style, though, so I don't think you can say one speed is too fast or too slow.
mattlarkin.net
larkinediting.com - freelance editing for fantasy and science fiction
ImageImageImage

User avatar
Sanderling
Posts: 187
Joined: July 3rd, 2011, 4:47 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Sanderling » October 27th, 2011, 1:06 pm

The short answer? Not fast enough. ;) It always feels like edits take foreeeever, way longer than I think they should.

I'm currently at 81k words edited of my manuscript (nearing the end, yay!); this has taken me... maybe 23 hours so far? I haven't been keeping close count. So I guess I'm averaging 3500 words an hour. I'm doing line edits, style edits and minor plot detail edits as I go. However, this is my fifth pass through the manuscript, so it's relatively polished at this point. My first and second passes would be considerably slower, and were mostly plot revision.
My blog / Twitter
.
"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.

User avatar
CharleeVale
Posts: 553
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 3:16 am
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by CharleeVale » October 27th, 2011, 2:39 pm

I don't edit as I go. I just have never been able to do that. I just keep a list of things that need to be changed. Then, when I finish a draft, I usually print it out and edit on paper. It's not a very fast process, but I prefer having the whole thing done before I edit so I can add layers, foreshadowing, continuing threads, etc.

CV

User avatar
Quill
Posts: 1059
Joined: March 17th, 2010, 9:20 pm
Location: Arizona
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Quill » October 27th, 2011, 4:14 pm

Fast and edit are two words that don't go together in my book. My fastest go through on my recently completed WIP was the 8th and final (for now) draft, my fine polish draft, where I averaged 9,000 words per day, or about 1500 words per hour. My earlier, revision drafts averaged no more than 300-400 words per hour.

User avatar
Hillsy
Posts: 303
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 4:33 am
Location: Gravesend, UK
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Hillsy » October 28th, 2011, 5:16 am

Wow Polymath, and I thought an hour and a half was a long time per 1000 words...=0)

Dios, Sommerleigh: Dean Koontz apparently only does 1 draft as well, but he doesn't move onto the next page until he's editted the finished page completely to his liking.

Quill: I feel your pain. I think I once spent an hour on a sentance once, and in the end got frustrated and just rewrote the entire paragraph, just so I didn't have to look at the damn thing anymore.

Charlee: I did my first edit on paper, but ditched it beause I rearrange words and sentences almost conitinuously. And even double spaced 12pt font, there just isn't the space for all the red pen. That and I hate the same thing twice, and copying up is just repetition in the end.

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.

Sommer Leigh
Moderator
Posts: 1624
Joined: April 2nd, 2010, 11:07 pm
Location: Omaha, NE
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Sommer Leigh » October 28th, 2011, 8:03 am

Hillsy wrote:Dios, Sommerleigh: Dean Koontz apparently only does 1 draft as well, but he doesn't move onto the next page until he's editted the finished page completely to his liking.
Oh! I do more than one draft, it's just that my second (and third) drafts edit differently because of how I write. I don't do nearly as much rewriting, for one thing. I spend more time concentrating on tightening up the writing itself and messing with word choice.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

User avatar
Hillsy
Posts: 303
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 4:33 am
Location: Gravesend, UK
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by Hillsy » October 28th, 2011, 9:25 am

Sommer Leigh wrote: Oh! I do more than one draft, it's just that my second (and third) drafts edit differently because of how I write. I don't do nearly as much rewriting, for one thing. I spend more time concentrating on tightening up the writing itself and messing with word choice.
Oh right. No Koontz is a bit mental apparently. He will stop midsentence if he finishes the end of a page and then goes back and gets it to the level he'll send it off at. I think he outlines like crazy though. However, what a writer.

User avatar
polymath
Posts: 1821
Joined: December 8th, 2009, 11:22 am
Location: Babel
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by polymath » October 28th, 2011, 10:27 am

Hillsy wrote:Wow Polymath, and I thought an hour and a half was a long time per 1000 words...=0)
Sometimes I can crank out a solid thousand words in one twenty-minute pass. The more familiar I am with the material and the more drawing on personal experience and more passionate I am about the topic the faster and tighter an initial draft is. When I spend eight hours on a thousand words it's as much because the material is more challenging as because I'm challenging myself to grow as a writer.
Hillsy wrote: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.
That darned pesky law of diminishing returns. Observing struggling writers' revision and editing processes I noticed they tend to revise because of doubts raised by hunches something's not quite hitting the intended mark. They default to micromanaging, changing a word or shifting a phrase around within a sentence or changing tense, little things, a trial and error method, heuristic. What happens when I do this?

Perhaps what's missing the mark, I suggest, is a larger consideration, like syntax or logic (logos--causation). A common issue with clarity for the sake of reading and interpretation ease (audience) I encounter is multiple ideas crammed into a sentence or paragraph. Another is giving insufficient or out of logical sequence context, which causes readers difficulty interpreting and understanding the intended meaning.

Maybe what's missing the mark is yet larger considerations from the outset, like an underdeveloped central concept.
Spread the love of written word.

User avatar
AnimaDictio
Posts: 158
Joined: June 10th, 2010, 1:07 am
Contact:

Re: How fast do you edit?

Post by AnimaDictio » October 28th, 2011, 11:00 am

Count me in the edit-as-I-go club. Everyone tells me to stop doing that, but I can't write new words until I've gone over the most recent few pages to refamiliarize myself with the spirit of that part of the book and I can't go back over without improving things.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests