Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Post by Misha Gericke

Today, we have the first of three weeks of guest posts! As I mentioned before, my lil' baby due any day, so these gracious writers have provided material to keep this blog occupied (Pixar films and his Nana are keeping the big brother occupied ;). I'll probably buzz in to say if it's a boy or a girl and all that jazz ;) I hope you enjoy getting to know these folks and will check out their blogs too. 

Misha Gericke is a South African writing buddy. She has been creating and telling stories before she could write. When she hit the teen years, writing became an all-consuming addiction that she has no intention of kicking. Her current goal (among others!) is to have all edits and revision done on her YA fantasy, Doorways, finished by the end of June 2012; You can find her at her blog, on twitter, linkedin and google plus. Thanks, Misha, for another great guest post!

The Importance of Doing a Fast Edit

Hurry up! You're in France - you'll get eaten!
Slowly wins the race, we are told. Especially when it comes to editing.

Apparently a real fear seems to live in the writing blogosphere that editing too fast will result in mistakes.

And it will.

You can’t see small mistakes if you fly over the pages. That makes sense.

However, that does not mean that we should restrain ourselves to a slow pace.

In fact, a few days ago, I spotted a glaring structure problem in my story because of the fact that I got sucked into the story so much that I couldn’t help but rush through my work.

How did it happen? How did I miss it through three rounds of edits?

Well, I kept myself at a much slower clip, adding things to introduce thoughts and problems earlier and so on. I’d send my edits to my crit partners part by part, so by the time they got to a specific chapter three or four sections later, they wouldn’t pick up that it was redundant. After all, they’d read that little titbit weeks ago.

Same with me. I’d actually edit that chapter and improve it, not knowing that it actually required a major overhaul.

A fast edit helped me to catch the problem before I had to send the manuscript out to beta readers.

So from now on, I’ll definitely recommend that writers do at least one zinger of an edit round so that they can spot any of those problems. Maybe just before you think the book is ready to go out?

What do you think? Have you ever found yourself editing at an incredibly fast rate (I did about 100 pages that day)? Did you spot any errors that you might have missed otherwise?


  1. Great insight - definitely something to keep in mind regardless of what you are checking - Thank you!

  2. Not yet, but I'm adding it to the list of things I'm learning about editing :-)

  3. If I let my manuscript sit without looking at it for a few weeks, the flaws jump out at me. It's hard waiting though.

  4. Good point. What I tend to do is I finish off what I feel is a final draft then send it to my beta readers as a whole. When they're reading it through, they have the whole package instead of the piece meal bit. It works because they'll pick up on any structure problems right from the outset!

  5. I discovered, reading my MS quickly, that a character had two opposing views about Heaven, which I was then able to rectify. Good post.

  6. I'm a slow reader, so I can only go so fast, but I understand what you mean. If you don't read through and experience the whole flow of a section, you'll miss the big stuff.

  7. I can edit pretty fast if I have to. I like to take my time otherwise. It's amazing how close to the manuscript we get, and we don't see a simple typo. I just had that happen.

  8. I also edit at a very fast rate. I have constantly scolded myself that I should go slow while editing.

  9. I definately agree. I am always surprised about how fast the pacing of my manuscripts are when I read them straight through. I forget while I'm drafting that, although my crit partners only read a few pages every week or so, my readers are probably going to race through the whole thing in a couple days. I don't have to repeat things so much and sometimes I just need to SLOW DOWN the action.

  10. I had to do fast edits with my grad school thesis. I didn't like it, and I'm not happy with the final result, which is why I never sent it out. Still.

  11. When I think the manuscript is clean, I read it aloud - and fast like a book - in a week or less. I always find something.

    I've tried the fast read earlier, and too many other things that need fixing get in the way. For me it works great doing it last. Or next to last, as it always turns out.

  12. Glad you liked it, Michelle.

    Let me know how it goes, Sarah.

    Em I know what you mean. Waiting usually almost kills me and I start editing too soon.

    Jack, that's why I plan to send the ms to betas as soon as my CPs are done. I need people to work through the whole thing fast.

    Annalisa that's a great thing to catch in time.

    Alex, that's a real concern for us, especially when we get so stuck in picking out the little things.

    Loree that happens to me all the time. That's probably one of the big reasons why I started looking for crits.

    Hahaha Rachna me too. I'm constantly worried that I'll stumble over that line where I burn out.

    Taryn, that's one reason why I read through the entire draft every time before I start the next one.

    Joshua I can see how fast edits for a thesis isn't necessarily the best idea. Hope you get to fix the issues soon.

    Carol I definitely plan to do the loud reading right before I start with queries. I don't want to have to repeat the process every time something is changed.

  13. I always do a read aloud edit, too, right before I send my story to beta readers. Sometimes I still miss things, just because I'm so close to the story. But it does help to slow down sometimes! Thanks, Misha.

    And thanks for hosting, Jenna! Glad to have found your blog, and good luck with the coming baby!

  14. Shallee slowing down is definitely a good idea. I'm going through my work with a fine toothed comb now. :-)

  15. I think this is brilliant! I KNOW I've missed things simply because I was chugging along at my usual pace - a little faster than a snail, but not much, and simply forgot details from earlier on.

  16. Fast edit; 40-60p/day, showed how silly I am as a 'first time writer' hero running over countless hills of mistakes, next level was going thru all, 10-20p/day with a 1-2 months of break in every 100 pages..... then I realized editing is more important than writing, The story is hidden in editing, not in writing, I mean I wrote in les than a year and I've been editing for over 3 years and now I'm editing page/day with a month break in every ~50 pages! have a dream it's gonna be published before i die :) it's tough to do but slowing down is a giant treasure chest of gold as a gift of your efforts from the heart, that's what i believe.

  17. Writing the book was easier than editing. When writing, my heart and head felt happy. While editing, I feel like I am slicing and dicing.

  18. Thanks to everyone for the comment love and thanks to Misha for a great post!!

  19. I struggle to see my own errors no matter how fast (or slow) I go!

  20. Margo details definitely fade from the mind if we work through them too slowly.

    Murat that's almost exactly the opposite of what I'm doing. 3 Years to write and 18 months to edit.

    Susan, it is so exhilirating to write, but I must say there's something special to seeing how what you've written improves with every round of edits.

    Thanks for having me Jenna! ;-)

    Al, it's something I struggle with too. Until my crit partners point out the same thing again and again.

  21. It's always hard to see your own mistakes.

  22. Such a great point! There are entirely different things you find when you go fast than when you go slow. It's definitely good to do both.

  23. I agree with you there, Talli. I'd never try to edit without crits.

    So true, Peggy. If we only went fast, we'd miss details. If we only went slow, we'd miss the bigger picture. :-)

  24. In working through your manuscript, I do about three to four pages a day. Sometimes more. I like to read through what I have pointed out. So I guess I am from the "editing slowly" camp. In working through my work, I go at about the same pace, I may be motivated a little more but not by much. I feel that if I don't distance myself properly and carefully weigh each sentence, that it may turn out all skewumpus and that irritates me.

  25. I think this is sound advice! Some edits require slow, but for the overall structure, you really need to zing through it, as you say. Or at least it's more effective. Great post!

  26. Whenever I leave my WIP for a few weeks and then read through it again, I see more glaringly obvious errors I missed before. I mean some were like "What the... was I thinking?" type errors. It doesn't give me huge confidence in those moments, I have to say. But I have to remind myself that it's because when I started writing this book I new nothing at all of what it actually took to write o novel. I am still learning as I go. The more I learn, the more errors I find, I'm not sure it matters whether I edit fast or slow (although I'd guess I usually go slow). I just hope I catch them all BEFORE I publish it. :) Or at least that my betas and editor do. :P X

    Great guest BTW, and good luck with all the baby business. X

  27. Mike, I suspect that's my great editing weakness. I don't have the focus required to weigh every single sentence and word. I'm guessing it's something I have to learn. :-/

    Thanks Janet. Glad you liked it.

    Shah I get those moments too. Especially if it's highlighted in a crit. I think we'll always be learning as we go. It's one of the charms to writing. :-)

  28. Gaaaaah... It's such a tricky balance, everything. I prefer to have my betas read the whole thing start to finish in one chunk--since my weakness is more content & pacing over writing... Though when *I* do a crit, I prefer them sent to me in chapters ;) Great post :D

  29. Hi Jenna, hi Misha!

    I am the first to admit that I am much too slow with my edits - I think I tend to rest the draft for the longest time ever too!

    I shall certainly try the fast editing tip if ever my wip gets to near good enough to send out to betas but for now I'm very steady (i.e. very slow -that snail will outrun me!) in my editing! I hope there won't be too many glaring errors! Yikes!

    Take care