Author Scott Bury can be found at his blog, Written Words. He can also be found in Canada which explains why he spells "favor" funny. I've got a guest post on his blog called "How to Fund Your Novel" so make sure you check that out, too.
Part one of Scott's excellent fantasy novel, The Bones of the Earth, can be found online in the usual places. It's got a really cool cover and even cooler words inside.
And now, please, a round of respectfully exuberant applause as Mr. Bury talks about his process...
I want to thank Roger for inviting me to contribute to his blog. He
asked me to write about my own editing process in writing my novel.
now, I am putting the final touches on my first-published novel, The
Bones of the Earth. Part 1 is available on e-book retailers now, but
before I could bring myself to put the whole thing up, I thought I would
take one more look.
have written about the four steps every writer, professional or
otherwise, needs to take before starting any document. I call it
“getting a GRIP,” for goal, reader, idea and plan.
call the plan, or outline, the best favour writers can do for
themselves. Not only does it help you make sure that your report, story
or novel makes sense, when you have one you don’t have to start writing
at the beginning.
What I need to edit
big job, preparation makes the actual work much easier. Once you’ve
finished writing your draft, you have to re-write, revise, change and
edit several times.
writer should have an editor. You need that second set of eyes, because
you just don’t see what’s on the page — you see what you intended to
write. An editor is a frank appraiser of your work. But the
responsibility to make the changes, to polish the work and make it as
good as it can be, stays with the author.
Scott's Cool Cover
edit while I’m writing, correcting typos and silly errors, changing
phrases and sentences as I change my mind. It’s so much easier with a
computer than with a pen and paper.
really editing requires some time. I need to put my work aside for a
while. With my fiction, I find that I need at least a week in between
drafts. I also need to edit it at least twice before I show it to anyone
else, whether a friend, a beta-reader, a critic or an editor.
important to leave time between drafts. It allows you to detach from
the work. You don’t feel so much like every word is your baby. Work on
something else in the meantime. Every sentence you write improves your
writing ability, so that you’re a better writer when you come back to
your earlier work.
do I need to edit out? Excess description. Readers don’t need to have
every single twitch described. They need to read a story that’s moving
along. Here are some examples from my own work:
“Some of the older nuns were trying to explain away the dragon as an illusion of the devil.”
“Some of the nuns said the dragon was an illusion.”
rose, and the others of the kobold council rose, too. Goldemar said
something in the kobold tongue to Krum Chimmek, and they all walked
across the hall.”
“The council stood and led the visitors across the hall.”
was the first to spotting the ancient jetties that projected into the
river. Austinus decided to stop for the night before they came to the
town, and found a campsite near the river, downstream from the crumbling
“Austinus decided to camp near the river, downstream from an abandoned town.”
leaner text moves the action along. You have to leave some room for the
reader’s own imagination to fill in the details. Just give enough for a
sketch and let the reader’s imagination do the rest.
Your job is not to paint pictures—that’s the painter’s job. Your job is to tell a story.
I hope I’ve succeeded.
How about you? Any "must do" editing tips? Feel free to share them in the comments.