Each author’s editing process is as individual as their writing process is. Here’s mine.
Step 1. Write a book. (This takes anywhere from two to ten months depending on genre, how much I actually know about what I’m making up, and whether or not my day job is trying to kill me.)
Step 2. Secure readers. (I know some people don’t like people to read their first drafts, but I don’t like to edit without knowing if I’m missing major plot issues that I am blind to.)
Step 3. Create Master Copy. (see picture) I hate editing on the computer. I hate reading on the computer, for that matter. So I always print out the draft and bind it. This costs somewhere between $15 to $30 depending on length of book, what you’re using for the cover (I prefer vinyl over card paper), and what kind of binding you get. (For the love of all that is Holy, do the coil. It’s more expensive but it’s so worth it.)
Step 4. Put all reader comments INTO the Master Copy. Hence the name Master Copy. I try to color code my readers. If they’re responding to specific lines, I’ll put their comment right next to it. Plot comments get put where I’ll remember to do something about it.
Step 5. Read and free-edit on Master Copy. Basically this entails me reading the story and leaving comments as they occur to me. It’s more of a readthrough than a true edit.
Step 6. If any major rewrites are needed, I’ll do them at this point.
Step 7. Print out another copy of the story. (The poor trees.)
Step 8. I go through, chapter by chapter, and edit. Editing at this point includes a readthrough with comments, then the cutting/rearranging/rewriting portion. Then I reference the Master Copy to make sure I haven’t missed anything major that myself or one of my readers has noted. I then do a polish on the chapter, make any notes of things that affect other chapters (usually in the chapters in question in the Master Copy), and move on to the next.
Step 9. After I finish the entire book, I do another readthrough and fix anything (hopefully minor things) that I missed during my in-depth edit.
Step 10. Find readers (hopefully a mix of people who read the first draft and people who did not).
Step 11. Repeat steps 8-10.
At this point I start the submission process, but that’s a topic for later posts.
What’s your process?