Too Much Editing?

Discussion in 'Indie Writing, Publishing & Marketing Discussion' started by Traci B, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    How much editing is too much? Is there such a thing?

    I'm in final edits (I hope) on my first novel, which I plan to launch as an e-book on a couple of platforms in the near future. I feel as though I'm getting bogged down in word choices, sentence tweaking, etc.

    When do you quit preening the feathers and push that baby bird out of the nest?
     
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  2. Michael J Scott

    Michael J Scott New Member

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    Once the typos, grammatical errors, and story hiccups are taken care of, release that chick!
     
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  3. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    Thanks for the advice. At the moment, I'm editing out filler words that caught my attention, but in the process of getting rid of the extra "that"s, "just"s and "well"s, I keep finding other things I want to reword. I think there should be a program that delivers a mild electrical shock to the user if she makes too many edits on a page; maybe that will stop me. ;)
     
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  4. Michael J Scott

    Michael J Scott New Member

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    I wouldn't fret about it too much. I was listening to an interview with William Blatty of The Exorcist some months ago, and he was relating of how he was sitting in a hotel room at the behest of his publisher, and doing a voice recording of the novel for its 20th anniversary edition. At one point during the recording, he stopped abruptly and said, "Who wrote this crap?!"

    Point is, we'll never be fully satisfied. But as long as it'll pass muster, then let it go.
     
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  5. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    I think I'm done with the editing. I just need to finalize the formatting and cover art, and it will be ready to upload. :)
     
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  6. Michael J Scott

    Michael J Scott New Member

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    Cool! Congratulations!
     
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  7. ShawnLamb

    ShawnLamb New Member

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    Traci, do you have proof readers? I use 2 other trusted sets of eyes after I'm done editing to catch what I miss. I also find editing on a hardcopy (paper) is better for catching mistakes than the computer screen.
     
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  8. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    I did have a couple of beta readers, but I did more editing after they gave me their input. That last edit was for content more than errors; I was tightening the story, getting rid of the filler words, etc.

    Anyway, the novel's live on Amazon now, so I'm good. Next time, I'll write tighter to start with, and I'm hoping that will mean less editing on the back end.
     
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  9. ShawnLamb

    ShawnLamb New Member

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    The more you write, the tighter it becomes as you learn from each book.
     
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  10. hippiechyck

    hippiechyck New Member

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    LOL!!! that is priceless!
     
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  11. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    That's what I'm hoping, Shawn. My two NaNo novels suffer from the opposite problem - when I finished them, they were just over 50,000 words each, but there wasn't much description. Before I release them, I need to flesh them out a bit.
     
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  12. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    Barbara, I agree; that quote in Michael's comment cracked me up. It also freed me up to stop nitpicking and get the book uploaded. Thanks, Michael!
     
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  13. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    Shawn, how did you get all your books into your signature? You see how small mine is; that's all the signature police thing would allow me.
     
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  14. ShawnLamb

    ShawnLamb New Member

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    I followed Michael's advice in grabbing the covers from my Amazon page and copying them to the signature.

    As for your 50,000 words - that is short for me. Most of mine are 90,000 to 115,000. I love description! Of course I grew up devouring epic historical fiction books by authors like John Jakes, Mary Stewart and Taylor Caldwell. The longer the better for me.
     
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  15. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    I grabbed my cover from Amazon too, but I had to keep shrinking the size to get it to where it would insert. I also can't have as many lines in my signature as you do. Wonder why that is? Maybe when I hit a certain number of posts the limits will change...

    And I totally agree - 50,000 words is too short for my novels. I don't know if you've participated in NaNoWriMo, but in case you haven't, here's the idea: the goal is to draft a complete novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days (it's in November each year). Since word count and a finished story are the main objectives (not to mention that 30-day thing), I've focused on telling the main action more than description. I figured I could go back later and add the world-building information.

    It's worked well for me; I "won" both years I participated (winning being the meeting of the 50,000 word mark). Now I just need to edit and release the novels, and maybe go ahead and plot the third one so I'll be ready come November.

    Meanwhile, the Atherton series needs my attention (there are 3 more books to write), and I have ideas for two stand-alone novels, a non-fiction themed essay book related to my hoop dancing hobby, and a couple of poetry chapbooks. Oh, how I wish I didn't need the day job to pay the bills! ;)
     
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  16. ShawnLamb

    ShawnLamb New Member

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    I don't know about the shrinking cover size as mine went in just fine.

    Yes, I know about NaNoWriMo, and I'm not a fan of it. I understand the premise behind the idea, and can applaude the effort, but having worked in Hollywood as a scriptwriter, studied for years as apprentice to an author of over 30 books, been through the traditional route with publisher, agent and publicist, one month of writing does not an author or novel make. No offense, just reality. It takes more than putting words on paper - or the computer screen to reach a word count within a prescribed time frame. It takes honing, learning and understanding the craft to become a complete author. NaNoWriMo doesn't provide any of those aspects.

    Congratulation on winning, but that is just the beginning of your journey.
     
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  17. Traci B

    Traci B New Member

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    Totally agree, Shawn. If I didn't have a background in journalism and an understanding of writing to deadline, my expectations of NaNo would be totally different and probably unrealistic. I participate because it's fun, exciting and narrows my writing focus to one task - getting that draft written.

    It's certainly not for everyone, but it works for some people. It was the springboard for my writing Chantal's Call, and although I didn't finish it in a month, I wouldn't have started it at all if the concept of NaNoWriMo hadn't captured my imagination.
     
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  18. Michael J Scott

    Michael J Scott New Member

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    Welcome! Hearing it from his lips (via radio) was quite liberating!
     
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  19. ShawnLamb

    ShawnLamb New Member

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    I agree it is a tool, and good for getting some people to move on ideas.That is the aspect to NaNoMo I give kudos too, but I caution people that it is not a end unto itself.
     
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  20. Michael J Scott

    Michael J Scott New Member

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    To me, the value of NaNo is that it trained me in the discipline of writing every day, and of not being content with a piecemeal effort. No, NaNo will not make you a great writer, only a really productive writer. If what you write is crap, then you'll produce a lot of it. If, however, you've worked hard at honing your craft via editing, critique groups, rewriting, taking classes, and reading articles, books, and blogs about writing, then NaNo can help you write faster and overcome the temptations of Minesweeper, solitaire or Mahjong Tiles (or whatever personal hobgoblins suck your time. These are mine. ;)).

    You're correct, of course, Shawn. Finishing a NaNo project is just the beginning of a very long journey.
     
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