Monday, March 7, 2011

The editing process

I've been revising HIS GOOD OPINION since January. If you looked over my tweets since then, it would be easy to wonder if I've made any progress. After all, I keep talking about the same chapters over and over. What is my editing process, anyway?
  1. Kindle: I spent three weeks in January reading my draft on my Kindle and making notes about what needs to change. Those notes are guiding me through the next step--
  2. Purple draft: The first actual revision is done in purple. These changes primarily address plot and pacing problems. Word choice changes in the--
  3. Pink draft: With a solid draft in front of me now, I can look past the structure of the story to the aesthetics. Does is sound right? Purple and pink drafts are done at the same time, then I shelve the chapter before coming back for the--
  4. Turquoise draft: The final layer I add is physical description. Since this is my weakest area, I leave it to the end so I can focus solely on it. I have a checklist of things to look for, such as color, shape, object, texture, etc. A good scene will include three and focus on one. 
As a rule, no one reads chapters that haven't been revised in turquoise. I am currently solidly in purple and pink, expecting to crack open my turquoise pen on the 14th.

Now I'm curious. How do you revise your stories?