“What’s the hardest part of being an author?”

I waste spend far too much time on Face Book, but I find such interesting stuff there.  Like Curiouser Editing LLC, which is where the theme for this post came from.

So, the question was asked, both in the group Curiouser Author Network and on their blog:

“What’s the hardest part of being an author?”

and from reading the responses it seems that a lot of people hate editing.

I’m weird. I don’t really mind editing — it makes my little organizational soul sing and dance.  Oh, sure, I whine and complain and moan about it, mostly because I’d rather be writing something new, but I really sort of enjoy it.

Everyone has a different approach to the process: here is a little bit of mine.

I load the novel onto a thumb drive, go to Office Max, get it printed and three hole punched, put it in a binder, and put a paperclip on each chapter.  (I have pretty colored paperclips.)

Then I take out one chapter and sit down with it, some pretty colored markers, some pretty colored highlighters, and some pretty colored Post It notes in various sizes. (Are you catching a theme about pretty colors? LOL)

Oh, and I keep a spiral notebook at hand to use to write major notes to myself. (I have a ton of partially used spiral notebooks and this is a great way to decrease the number of them.)

Remember all those pretty colors?  (How could you forget them, right?)  They come into play now.

Grammar corrections and typos are marked in red ink. If a page happens to be free of them (ha!) I put a red 0 in the top right hand corner so I know that I can skip that page when I make the corrections to the Word doc.

Then other colors get assigned to other uses:

  • Check to see if I said/did… (blue ink)
  • Scene re-writes – I’ll put a number in say, green, on the print out, then write that same number in the same shade of green on the notebook and hand write at least a rough scene to insert when I get back to the computer.
  • Sometimes I’ll draw lines in different colors to rearrange paragraphs.  Or I’ll label the paragraphs A,B, C and put them in a new order when I get back to the computer.  Colors help make it easier to see what I’m doing.  Plus, I can have a green A and a purple A and know which is which.  (My rough drafts get really messy.)

Post It Notes get used in conjunction with highlighters.  I’ll highlight something and put a sticky note next to it that says “Retcon this” or “Retcon to book 1” or “Go back and make this clearer before now.”

I also make changes to the Word doc a chapter or two at a time instead of waiting until the entire thing is done, as that can be overwhelming.

Then I read through it on the screen, make more notes about continuity, and smooth out some transitions that got roughed up in the first go-round.

And then I load the new version onto a thumb drive and…

So what is your editing method? Any tips or tricks to share?

(Oh, and for the record, my reply was that for me the hardest part is promotion:

“Marketing. Definitely marketing. I absolutely suck at self-promotion. (I was never good in selling advertising, either.) I don’t like “bothering” people by shoving ads for my books in their faces all the time, probably (at least in part) because it annoys me when I see it.”)







Filed under writing

5 responses to ““What’s the hardest part of being an author?”

  1. curiouserediting

    Great post! I think marketing and editing were the most-popular answers. I love your blog, Paula!

  2. mikeakin1

    An organized editor you are 😄👏👏

  3. mikeakin1

    Yes, but you seem to clean it up afterwards to make it all look so beautiful. :)

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