Rule H: treat line editing like Housekeeping not revision

Linda’s Rules of Writing

A sailboat set against a pink sunset, palm trees in the foreground.
I admit it! This was an excuse to show a sail boat at sunset amidst palm trees!  In case you’re wondering, my book Miasma is set an alternate Hawaii.

We’re onto the letter H in Linda’s Rules of Writing of the A to Z Challenge, and treating line editing like Housekeeping, not revision.

One of the things that Holly Lisle mentioned in her course How to Revise Your Novel was that a lot of writers start revision by line editing, instead of focusing on the bigger issues that revision really entails.  It hit me that I’d been doing exactly that in my early “revisions” of my contemporary fantasy, and it also hit me how much of a waste of time it was actually was.

Because I’d line edited scenes, then discovered a major problem in the story that needed fixing.  I’d go through the manuscript and fix the problem, and three scenes that I’d labored over to do line editing came out.  Then I’d go back and start line editing again until I ran into a big problem and repeated the process.

I felt like I let the wind out of my sails. 😦 And all on my own, no wind required.  It made the revision process frustrating and time consuming — and a lot MORE work.

Time to write is hard enough to find without me making more work for myself!  Now I try to think of editing as a form of housekeeping.  Because it really is clean up work: Fixing grammar problems, word choices, getting rid of repetitions, fixing unclear sentences.  And all of these get done AFTER I’ve done all the major work, because there isn’t any point to line editing 24K of scenes and then dropping them.

What have you learned about your editing process?

Writerly Adventures

Sand Dollar Wishes was a very short (under 250 words) flash fiction piece that I wrote for Writer Unboxed’s Flash Fiction Contest.  The story won an honorable mention.  I had to do a lot of editing to keep it at 250 words.

Caption: Banner for the A to Z Challenge

3 thoughts on “Rule H: treat line editing like Housekeeping not revision

  1. Since I have been working on writing children’s short stories, I have learned to cut down on my word use as I am writing. Once my muse has left, I reread what I have written and attempt to get rid of words I don’t need. It seems to help me stay within the 700-800 range rather than the 1000 word counts I had in the beginning. Re-reading and doing some minor cutting gives my mind a break and when I am ready to write I go through the same process again. After the story is written I have less that needs to be cut because I did trimming along the way.

    Denise at Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers, participant of A to Z Blogging Challenge
    Denise Reashore on Facebook


  2. Pingback: Reflections on A to Z Challenge | Linda Adams

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