Monday, May 4, 2009


I hate housework.

Actually I don’t know very many people who like it (except for maybe my sister-in-law) but I really hate it. Mostly because I feel like I never get anything accomplished. I start cleaning the kitchen then I go to my daughter’s room to put something away and start cleaning up in there. Before I finish I put her dirty clothes in the laundry and realize that I need to put a load in. After an hour I realize I have only cleaned half of every room and nothing really looks better.

Sometimes I find that with editing. I’ll go through a chapter looking for every problem at once. Often I miss things because I’m trying to clean up everything at once. I read once that you should read through your book focusing only on one character.

Recently I’ve tried to adopt that theory. First I print off a hard copy of a chapter and make corrections with pen; everything from rewriting sentences, punctuation, spelling, dialogue etc.
Then I make those changes on the computer. I then read through the chapter looking only at dialogue. After that I read it again looking for echoes. I might read it once more if I’m giving it to someone to look at.

How about you? Do you try to edit all at once or try to focus on one room at a time?


Heidi said...

I'm starting to really dread editing on this new book I'm working on, mostly because I fear it's going to need a lot.

I do it like you, a bit at a time. First the big, broad things.. plot, character development, etc. Then I get smaller... language, excessive words or lack of... then finally the spelling thing.

And I clean my house that way too! :)

giddymomof6 said...

LOL! I'm always easily distracted. Sometimes I'll get so caught up in the story again, that I forget i'm editing and I'll just start reading! LOL! I find the best way for me to edit though is by reading out loud. When I stumble over words it's when I can really see if the flow is right or not.

Patti said...

Heidi: I like your system for editing. I'll have to try it.

Jenni: I also find reading it out loud the ultimate test. It's easy to skip over words in your mind but a lot harder when you're reading them to someone.

jessie said...

Another editing question...and I'm not there yet. Not even close. Your editing process shows dedication to your characters, I think. You are giving them all a chance to be better.

I will also say that your cleaning bit was not welcome because I blog to forget about cleaning. Hmm...must go do dishes now.

Jenn Johansson said...

I'm like you. I originally went through all at once, but I'm now finding that focusing on one thing at a time is more effective for me. :)

Next stop - The dreaded ADVERBS!

JKB said...

Patti, I had to laugh. I hate cleaning but I love to iron. I wonder what that means?

The first few books were easy to edit, mainly beacuse I didn't know what I was looking I do and it takes much longer. Plus, like Heidi, I just fnished a MS that is going to take a lot of editing.

Patti said...

Jessie: I do lots of stuff to avoid cleaning, mostly because it never stays cleaned. You can spend five hours cleaning and have it messed up in 15 minutes. I remember one Saturday spending the whole day cleaning then taking my kids out for supper because I didn't want to mess anything up.

Jenn: I'm always on the outlook for adverbs and have a hard time writing a "ly" word

JKB: Maybe your love of ironing means you love to straighten things out. I didn't know what I was doing when I first started with this book but after many voices of direction I think I'm finding my way.

Tricia said...

Ha Ha. I found your blog through Kasie's and I just had to laugh because I wrote two similar posts on the subject of focus (never getting one thing done) and housecleaning, which I'm not fond of.

I'm afraid I edit like I do anything else--scattered

Patti said...

Tricia: I always feel scattered, once in a while I get focused and then I wonder where the time's gone, because it's past midnight. Thanks for coming to the blog.

strugglingwriter said...

I edit a chapter at a time and feel just like you. I could edit a chapter to death! Eventually I have to just move on.