Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rewriting versus Revising versus Editing

Seems like folks have different definitions for these three terms. Today you get mine.

Editing a novel is the final polish. It's the act of catching typos and clarifying confused sentences and adding in a bit of five-dimensional senses. If your novel is in good enough shape that all it needs is an edit, you can expect to make speedy progress through this draft.

Revising is where most of my second (and sometimes third) drafts live. I need to shift scenes around, rewrite some scenes completely to get more depth, maybe change up the pov character. When I'm revising, I've got the bones of the story pretty well but still need to wrastle it into shape.

Rewriting is more drastic yet, and that's where I am this week with the romance novel. Some scenes in this book needed revising, mostly in depth of character point-of-view. But the scenes that needed replacing really really needed replacing in their entirety. As in, parts of the over all novel plotline worked and parts didn't. This week I'm in the midst of a section that didn't. (The lame part that had me scrawling Seriously???? in the print-out margins...) I've added a complete new subplot and other new bits to amp up this part and help to complete the whole.

Still, to get through the entire 60,000-word novel by the end of March means I need to keep to about 10K a week. This week that 10K has been all new material. Take out a day to intensely revise a one-page synopsis in chat, and suddenly you're looking at 2500-word days instead of 2000. Lose a second day to customers, and you're mighty thankful you got a bit ahead last week. However, I've made 3K each of the last two days and if I can pull off 2K tomorrow, I'm still pretty much on track. Big if, being as it's a half day. Wish me luck!


Storywebber said...

I have always wondered the true useful meaning of editing, revising and rewriting. I appreciate you making this so clear.

Were you ablt to pull 2k or better today since you had a half day?


Valerie Comer said...

Hey there, thanks for the encouragement! My goal for the end of this week was to have the novel at 20,000 words. I ended my work day with 19,953. I'm happy!