Editing: The Path is a Spiral

I enjoy articles such as this one by Morgan Hazelwood, posted on Ryan Lanz’s site. I’m always striving to improve my understanding of my processes. What Morgan describes here is something that I consider in separate categories of polishing, revising and editing.

When I encounter articles like this, I cut and paste them with the date and the author’s name and other source information into a document of my own, “Michael’s Big Doc of Writing and Editing”.

Of note with respect to the list here. I often ‘know’ when reading when the character doesn’t act or sound true. My bigger concern is that they all sound like they’re not sufficiently unique and fresh.

The other part I’m always addressing is pacing. I’m forever worried about pacing, largely because I enjoy verisimilitude.

A Writer's Path

staircase spiral

by Morgan S. Hazelwood

Writing versus Editing Milestones

I find writing milestones to be more encouraging than editing ones. There’s a finite-ness to it.

It’s easy to know when you’ve achieved your word count targets when you’re writing a draft.

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5 thoughts on “Editing: The Path is a Spiral

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  1. I’ve definitely struggled as well with making sure my characters sound unique enough from each other. What I sometimes do that can help, is make what I call a “dichotomy table”–which sounds way more difficult than it is. I basically take my main relationships of the story, whether it’s pairs or triads, put their names next to each other, and work out the traits they contrast most on. For example, under my main character, I might put, “pessimist” and under my villain, I might put, “optimist.” I will cross off any pairing of words where the characters are going to be more similar. So, when I’m doing my voice sweep of edits, I’ll constantly check my chart to make sure those characteristics are reflecting in their dialogue. I usually go for a max of 5 with each pair. I do similar tables with all the main relationships of the story (protag vs. love interest. protag vs. mentor). It’s a good check for me to make sure the voices reflect differences, leaving it up to actions to show where they might be similar underneath it all.

    Hope that helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wouldn’t say it’s a struggle so much as a worry, a nagging, dogged concern that they must be different. I’m always open to new approaches to help define and explore the differences, though. It’s fascinating what we develop to help us cope. I’m never seen a process like the one you describe. Did you originate it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did–like you said, to deal with the nagging fear about voice. Also, because I was on a revise/resubmit where I had the mission of bringing out my MC’s voice. I made the call that everyone’s voice could be pushed more and it really has paid off. Makes it easier for me when voices aren’t coming as easy as I’d like. If you try it and it helps, let me know!

        Liked by 1 person

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