|Photo credit: Law H8r on Flickr|
As I work on the second draft of my newest WIP, I’ve decided to try something a little different while working on my edits.
I’ve mentioned in the past that I like to be pretty organized when I tackle my edits, and I often employ editing lists to help me to capitalize on that organization. Even with the list method, however, editing can quickly become exhausting, and so this time around I wanted to focus on a method that would allow me to get through my edits without burning out.
And so I decided to enhance the list method with focused passes.
You see, oftentimes the biggest issue with editing is that writers start to feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the edit at hand. Most times there will be several things to fix in any given draft, but the focused pass forces you to tackle one problem at a time.
Basically, the idea behind a focused edit pass is to go through your WIP with one goal in mind. Maybe it’s to authenticate dialogue, or expand on your setting, or fix a major plot hole, but whatever it is, you go through your WIP and fix that one problem, until whatever it is is cohesively worked out throughout the entirety of your WIP.
For example, say you’re adding a character. Using the focused pass method, you would go through your WIP from beginning to end, adding all scenes, mentions and effects that character leaves, and you ignore all other problems while doing so. It isn’t until you’ve fully integrated the new character into your WIP that you move on to the next problem—and again, you focus solely on the new issue.
Ideally, I recommend starting with the most difficult fix and moving on from there, because once you’ve fixed the big problems, everything else will feel easier in comparison.
So far, I’ve found that isolating the issues and focusing on them one at a time has allowed me to handle the issues without being overwhelmed. And when you’re neck-deep in edits, that can be quite a blessing.
How do you handle your edits? Do you try to tackle everything chronologically, use passes, or another method?
Do your edits leave you feeling overwhelmed? Here's a quick tip to help avoid writer burnout. (Click to tweet).
Is your list of needed edits enormous? Here's how editing in passes helps one writer keep focused. (Click to tweet)