MY THIRD DRAFT EDITING PROCESS

Saturday, February 3, 2018
Happy Saturday, everyone! (it feels weird saying that, because I am writing the beginning of this post on a Monday. It's a crazy, crazy busy week where I'm gone for the majority of it, so I'm trying to blog while there's time. :P) 

Like the title of the post says, I'm going to be taking you guys on the journey of my third draft editing process. So welcome to the chaos! xD


Before we dive in, I should note that not all of my third drafts look this way. I edit according to what works best for each book. Sometimes that means rewriting every. single. word. (been there done that. would not recommend if you want to keep your sanity) Sometimes that means chipping away on a computer document.

This isn't a "how-to" process, and this definitely isn't the only way to go about a third draft. But hopefully through reading what I do can help you gather ideas for your own editing process!

step one: print out the thing!

I printed my copy of Where Shadows Lie from Lulu! I've ordered from them in the past and am always extremely satisfied with the quality of their books. This was my first time buying a spiral-bound copy, and IT HAS CHANGED THE WORLD OF EDITING FOREVER. (shout out to Sarah for giving me the idea of ordering one!)That sounded a bit dramatic, but seriously. Having a paper copy to take notes in is so helpful! Because:

1. no distractions
2. I can edit in a cozy chair without having to balance a computer on my lap
3. fun editing pens!
4. it's easier for me to edit for long periods of time on paper rather than a computer

I decided to keep the cover super plain. Somewhat because I like the simplicity/minimalist look of it, but mostly because I was too lazy to whip up something fancy. (creating covers is SO hard and usually ends up leaving me frustrated. :P)

The words are double spaced so there's lots of room to make editing changes and notes (I need lots of room for this draft. -.-). I accidentally made the inside of the pages cream instead of white, but I don't mind the look.

(if you end up ordering your own copy from Lulu, wait until there's a sale! They have sales almost weekly, so I've never had to pay full price.)

two: gather my battle weapons

Editing on paper is great because it's also an excuse for a bunch of office supplies. Sticky notes, pens, highlighters, journals, notepads... the list just keeps going on. xD

The notebook pictured above is actually an art journal! I love the freedom of the blank pages so I can write sideways and create my own little system with columns.

Other editing essentials: chapstick, lotion, music, lots and lots of caffeine, fuzzy blankets...


step three: make a plan of attack

Before I dive into the edits I like to gather a basic idea on how I'll go about the edits. Sometimes I'll start the process by reading through the novel in one sitting, making some notes here and there, but I felt comfortable skipping that step since I had a giant outline of the plot.

I'm going through this book line by line. It's slow and painstakingly tedious, but I can already tell that it's helping the story and the quality of the words. I have a color-coded key to help guide me through all the marking up I have to do:

red = CUT THIS AWFUL SENTENCE
blue = rewrites I need to add in
yellow = hey! something I actually like! (the color yellow appears very rarely xD)
orange = it depends

I'll use the color orange for whatever I need it to mean: foreshadowing, bigger changes that will involve more thought, things I need to insert, plot questions I need to consider... It's a multi-purpose color. :P

step four: ATTACK!

This step is where I put on the headphones, shuffle my book's playlist, and edit like a madwoman. Not only has editing on paper helped me to focus better, but it's been so cool to realize how much I actually change. I'm probably deleting/changing/rewriting over 50% of the words in this book. There's rarely a page without half of it covered in red and blue lines. xD

step five: pizza + coffee break
 
step six: write down alllllll the changes

This picture isn't the greatest quality, but it's a good overview of my overall editing process. I markup the papercopy of Where Shadows Lie with all of the nitpicky line edits that I'm able to fit onto the page. I'm analyzing every sentence, trying to see if I can make it better.

While I'm reading through a chapter, sometimes I'll run across larger scene changes that I can't fix by cutting or adding in a couple words. I'll jot these down in my editing notebook under the "to-do" sticky note, and I'll work on those when I'm transferring the edits to my computer document.

(In the picture you can see that I have a "love" sticky note column to keep myself from becoming unbearably negative about my story. xD But the to-do section is always 10000000x longer than the good stuff (which makes sense because I am in the early stages of the novel).

seven: repeat until book is finished!
When I say "book," I mean "draft." Because once I finish this round of edits, another round is inevitable. And another. And another. And probably a couple more even after that. :P

I'm not pushing myself too hard with this draft. I've been doing about three chapters a week, which means I should be able to complete this draft by the second week of March! Craziness!


I hope the rest of your Saturday is awesome! I'll be editing in the afternoon and working in the evening... what does the day look like for you? May it be awesome whatever you end up doing. :)

<3, 
katie grace

are you currently in the middle of writing or editing?

60 comments :

  1. Ahhh this is so helpful! I love seeing other people's writing process, and this will definitely help in the future :)

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    1. Yay, I'm so glad that it did! Good luck with all the editing that the future brings. :) YOU WILL ROCK IT.

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  2. YESSS I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS POST. Your process is beautiful and I love it so much! ❤️

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    1. YESSS FINALLY! It was fun going into detail about the whole process!

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  3. I LOVE printing off my books once I finish them. I've never used Lulu before; I usually just print mine off at Staples or OfficeMax--but I'll look in to Lulu. XD You don't have to drive anywhere.

    I loved reading this post because it reminded me of what I did for my first novel. BECAUSE... I did what you did! All those colors. Music. :D Notebooks. SO MANY GOOD MEMORIES HERE!

    So thank you for this amazing post. :)

    D.G. Snapper | silverphoenixwriter.blogspot.com

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    1. Yes, exactly! I'm all for not going out in the cold if I don't have to. :P

      MUSIIIC! Do you have a theme song/album for your novel?

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  4. I love this post! Your idea to print our your book in spiral-bound form for editing is genius! I'll have to try that when I edit. . . .

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    1. YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT! It makes editing so much better. :D

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  5. This is awesome, Katie! I’ve never really done a bunch of “real” editing before, so this is super helpful! And I lovvvve the color codes for your pens. Like, YES. I’m editing right now, and I feel like it’s the first time because I actually have SOME idea of what I’m doing. It’s great :P
    ~ riley aline

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    1. Ooh, are you editing the second draft or your novel or a later draft? Second drafts are The Actual Worst, so here are some extra cookies if that's what you're currently in the middle of. xD

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    2. I’m editing the first draft, so nothing too crazy yet! But I’ll hopefully be on to the second draft sooner of later... :P

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    3. YOU WILL GET THERE! Don't fear! :P

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  6. And I was so sure that your planner book said "Love" on the left side and "To Die" on the right. Until I looked closer and saw that it said "To Do". WELL THEN xD.

    This was epic, Katie! I REALLY need to order something from LuLu, just for the fun of it - maybe when I'm ready to edit my current manuscript (which is still in first draft stage, haha). I think I'd get stuck at step five and just STAY THERE FOREVER though xD.

    Thanks for the awesome post, Katie! (also I tagged you for a thing: http://scattered-scribblings.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-comp-title-challenge.html)

    ~ Savannah | Scattered Scribblings

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    1. I mean... it's kind of true? xD Those are all the bad things in my novel I want to kill and make better. :P

      YOU SERIOUSLY NEED TO. And if you ever do you must send me pictures so I can flail over them with you. :D

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  7. One of these days I'll order some copies of my drafts from Lulu. I love that idea. :)

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    1. You should totally do it! It's a pretty simple process, but just send me a message if you get confused by one of the steps. :)

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  8. So glad you liked my idea, Katie! Thanks for sharing it, I hope a lot of fellow writers will find this helpful cuz MAN don't we all just love editing? lol xP anyways, glad you found it useful!

    sarah » the introverted extrovert

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    1. EEP YES. I edited in a link to your blog for credit -- sorry for forgetting to include that! I'm so glad you showed me your spiral bound copy. :D

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  9. I'm almost to the stage where I need a hard copy for edits, and I was going to order from Lulu--but I hadn't thought of ordering a spiral bound copy. Great idea!

    I'm making 11 dozen Valentine's cookies today. Fun. (I hate cooking.) Then I'm seeing the new Maze Runner movie!

    Hailey
    www.haileyhudson.wordpress.com

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    1. EEEP, that's so exciting! *flails* Let me know if you have any questions when ordering from Lulu!

      ...11 dozen?? That's... that's a lot of cookies. I think even someone who enjoys cooking would get bored of that fairly quickly. :P I hope they turned out! And hey -- how was the movie?

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  10. This is such a good idea! I always print out my book for the second draft, and it’s a whole mess of big thick paper held loosely together by paper clips and it’s falling apart all over the place. I love the spiral bound notebook! I’m going to have to use it next time I’m editing ☺️
    -Emily Y.
    emilyywrites.wordpress.com

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    1. You should totally do it! Eek, I can imagine all the loose sheets of paper. o.o I like that you can arrange them around... but I feel like I'd lose them all. xD

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  11. This post makes me want to finish my novel so I can print out a copy from Lulu! :)) Hopefully soon....

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    1. YOU CAN DO THIS! Do you think that you're nearing the end?

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    2. *sob* not really :). My goal is to finish it by May/June, but we'll see. :))

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    3. YOU CAN DO THIS! I have faith in you. :D

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  12. Wonderful process, Katie! :) I pray your journey with Where Shadows Lie is epic and that God guides you always! ♥
    YESSS editing pens. And sticky notes. Alll the love. xD I do plan on printing a bound AND spiral copy once my WIP is finished (soo close) - one for my family and the spiral for me to ATTACK - er, I mean, edit... :P
    God bless you girl!!
    -Ang | thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

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    1. Aww, thank you so much, Angela. That means a lot. You're the sweetest. <3

      YES! Whoah, you're giving one to your family? Go you for being brave!

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  13. I LOVE this, Katie! Thanks so much for sharing your process!

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  14. AHHH I LOVED READING THIS! <3 I'm going to attempt editing like this to see how it goes. I've actually never edited a whole first draft of anything before so this shall be interesting. >.<

    Good luck on your novel!

    xx Kenzie

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    1. EEEP THANK YOU, KENZIE. And wait I didn't know that you wrote a whole novel?? Have I been living in a cave or something? TELL ME ALL!

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  15. I've been the editor for reports my little siblings are doing for school, and that has made me realize how much more I like editing on paper. I think I'll try this... Once I get to the third draft. xP I think I need a whole plot rework for my second draft.

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    1. Yeah, I don't think printing out a second draft would be very useful for me. I'd take one look at it and just write "scrap" on the cover. :P

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  16. This is so cool! I love editing on paper, because you can catch so many more things than on the computer. Also all those stationary supplies make me so happy XD

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    1. SERIOUSLY! And I like the whole process of transferring the edits onto the computer, because I can read through it again and catch a lot of typos that I didn't notice.

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  17. This is so cool, helpful, and inspiring! Thank you!!

    -Gray Marie | graymariewrites.blogspot.com

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  18. How is it that you always look so aesthetic-y EVEN WHEN YOU'RE EDITING??? TEACH ME YOUR WAYS, KATIE GRACE!!!

    I love your color chart, I may have to steal that for when I inevitably hit the editing stage. Although I probably won't print it up all fancy. I'll probably just print it up into a manuscript from the computer and then staple it all together or something because #lazy

    I'm currently plotting my next big project. I finally finished my NaNoWriMo novella in December, so now I'm waiting for the initial feedback from my peer reviewer before sending it to my alpha readers for first draft feedback. I'm hoping to begin edits during Camp NaNo in either April or July, depending on my schedule.

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    1. BECAUSE IT'S ALL POSED. :P IN REALITY I HAVE EVERYTHING STREWN ABOUT EVERYWHERE AND IT'S QUITE A CREATIVE, CHAOTIC MESS. I'll take an unposed picture next time I remember so you can see the reality. xD

      Eyy, that still works! You do you. xD

      AH EXCITING. You're so brave for giving people your novel so early in the process. Kudos to you. :P

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    2. Haha, I'd love to see the chaotic mess that is reality. Then I won't feel so bad about being a mess myself lol.

      THAT'S WHAT I SAY TO PEOPLE. (You do you.) Are you sure we aren't secretly related???

      Haha, well thank you. My alpha readers are all good friends of mine that I know in person, so it's a little less stressful than sending it to online friends.

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    3. (I don't know, are we?? Are you the long lost sister I didn't even know I had???)

      Ahh, makes sense. Though sometimes I feel like it's even worse when I'm close to them. (*cough* likemymom *cough*)

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  19. This was so inspiring to see your editing process :) Definitely gave me a lot of ideas for when I get to that stage!

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  20. Good luck!! This post came at the perfect timing - I'm about to start editing and have been searching for tips on how to handle this mess of story.

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    1. It's so hard to manage stories, since they seem to have a mind of their own. :P But best of luck to you!!

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  21. I love this so much! Editing on paper gives an entirely different feel than editing on the computer. I just feels more…real and solid - like you have a glimpse for how the finished book will look on paper. Besides, the idea of more notebooks and fancy pens always appeals to me. : )


    best wishes for your editing journey!
    k.
    p.s. the idea of printing your novel out spiral bound, YES (that's going to be lifesaver).

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    1. Yes!! You know exactly what I'm talking about. Couldn't have said it better myself. :)

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  22. EEK BUT THIS IDEA HAS OFFICIALLY STOLEN MY HEART PARDON ME WHILE I GO ORDER MY BOOK FROM LULU.

    Not even kidding actually. I'm currently in the middle-ish of edits and hoping to be finished mid-March and then take a break for camp nano planning and all that, but YESS THIS IDEA IS TOTALLY HAPPENING. *flails*

    Maybe that will be my May edits... *strokes chin thoughtfully*

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    1. MWAHAHA YAAS. *is totally excited* I cannot wait to see pictures of this asjdklf;. And now I'm excited for Camp, too! It's coming up sooner than I realize. o.o (well... not really. but we'll be able to sign up in less than a month! And I have NO IDEA what I'll be working on. *sweats nervously*)

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  23. I love how ordered and neat everything about your editing is! My plan of attack is usually to print out the entire document and wield a red pen (while simultaneously sobbing and screaming) until something coherent comes out. However, this looks very aesthetic and pleasant so I might try this for my next novel.

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    1. Heh, I can relate to the screaming and sobbing. That's a given for when it comes to the editing process. :P

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  24. Wait! Wait! Wait!!! Are you saying that you can order a spiral-bound copy of your manuscript... Because this is insanely awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! When you zap the printer because your book just so happens to be almost 200,000 words and almost 400 pages... COMPUTER pages mostly on font size 11...
    How much does it cost?
    astoryspinner.blogspot.com

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    1. YES YOU TOTALLY CAN! And it depends on the size/how many pages! I'd say that you should expect to spend about ten dollars total, and that includes shipping. Not bad at all. :)

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  25. Great post! Thanks for sharing. This is awesome. When/if I ever get to this point, I'll have to use this post as a reference - the site you shared is amazing, definitely gotta tuck that little bit of info away for future... Congrats on achieving this step of the editing process! I've never reached that point quite yet, but seeing this makes it all the more possible. Thanks! :]

    BTW, I've tagged you on my blog! But please don't feel obligated to do it. Link --> http://sarah-plainandaverage.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-bibliophile-sweater-tag.html. Have a lovely day!

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  26. That's such a neat process! I love printing out my work and getting feedback from my family, and then shoving it through another round of editing. :) It really helps to hear your work said aloud! You catch a lot of mistakes that way!

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  27. This post is so great and so helpful, thank you for sharing :) I am currently in the process of re-reading my WIP and I know the editing will have to come afterwards, I am reaaaaaally dreading it ahah. Thank you for all of this, it really helps! :)

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  28. This is so cool! I'm currently working on the second draft of my WIP (I'm doing it on my laptop, partly because it's easier for me to get into the right headspace, and partly because I didn't even think about printing it out... so...yeah. XD ), but while I was hoping it would be an easy draft, it turns out I'm completely rewriting practically the entire thing. Hahahaha...haha...ha. (help me) So basically my sanity is completely gone, with no desire to ever return anytime soon. XD

    This post was SO inspiring to me, though! I was hoping I could find some inspiration to keep editing tonight, and this was exactly what I needed! And ACK THOSE STICKY NOTES ARE SO ADORABLE!!!! *need*

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  29. My brother found Custom Writing Service DigitalEssay.net  and ordered a couple of works. Their customer service is outstanding, never left a query unanswered.

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