A to Z Challenge, otherwise known as "The First—But Not Last—Day M.J. Didn't Plan Anything Ahead Of Time."
Actually, maybe we shouldn't call it that. Seems wordy.
Anyway...I think I've found a workable topic. I hope it's not too boring.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook (thank you for that, by the way), you'll know that I spent the month of March languishing in the land of the endless edits. By some miracle, I actually stayed on task (well, mostly) and finished all my edits by the end of the month. With entire hours to spare, even.
So today I thought I would share with you my editing process.
First, I printed up a nice, clean copy of my manuscript. I started off working on the computer, but I kept getting distracted by solitaire and various forms of social media, so I unplugged for a while and went old school. It was me, a blue highlighter and a red pen. I sat on my couch—or at the break table at The Store—and worked my way through each and every page, reading everything aloud (which my co-workers loved more than life itself) and being very, very picky. I highlighted each and every problem I came across and then wrote a little red note on how I wanted to fix it. Two red pens and three blue highlighters later (yes, seriously), my nice, clean manuscript looked like this:
And actually, that's one of the cleaner pages. Probably why I took a picture of that one.
The next step brought me back to the computer. I require noise when I work. I can't do quiet, so I need something playing in the background. Most of the time that something doesn't matter, but this round of edits was different for some reason. I tried music. It didn't work out because I was so distracted with which song was currently playing and which one I wanted to hear next that my productivity was laughable at best. So I put the iPod away and put season two of Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the DVD player instead. That worked.
(The Man, by the way, finds this insane. He has no idea how I can work under these noisy conditions, how I can concentrate on anything when the television is on, and honestly, I have no idea how I can work under such noisy conditions either, but as I have a freshly edited manuscript, I'm going to keep doing it.)
So I got to work implementing all my desired changes. Many of these edits weren't overly time consuming. It was "add a comma here", "delete dialogue tag here" and "hey, how 'bout you fix that verb tense, you dumbass" kind of stuff, but there were a few things that required more effort. Those edits were placed on a "Run Off" list that I tackled during the last two weeks of the month. (By that time, I was on season five of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.)
I finished Easter Sunday, and by Easter Sunday night, I still considered myself done (which is a real record for me). And I felt good about them—or as good as I ever feel about things that are not chocolate.
It was an Easter miracle.
Of course, yesterday, I looked at the manuscript for the first time only to find two (minor) typos staring back at me.
Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall for a while.
How do you tackle edits?