First Pass Editing Notes Done! - Travis Senzaki

First Pass Editing Notes Done!

On the bus ride home from work today, as Saint Saens’ “Danse Macabre” played appropriately on my iPod, I put the finishing touches on my first revision notes fore Banner of the King! Boy, was that ever a long and boring process. Tomorrow, I begin the possibly longer process of applying said notes to my manuscript.
Here’s how I’m going about the first pass editing, presented not because I think it’s the right way to do things, but because . . . eh, for the hell of it. S’why I blog anyway.

Writing is the easy part. Well, no, outlining is the easy part. I love that stage, when I’m still figuring out all the ideas. Writing- filling in the outline- is relatively easy, although not quite as fun.

Editing is about as much fun as weeding. Which is to say, not at all. I have literally spent time watching water evaporate on a peeling, wooden desk that I found more enjoyable.

I started by looking for advice. The best bit I found was this blog on how to edit your novel by Nathan Bransford, along with his revision checklist.

I didn’t want to print my 465-page, single-spaced manuscript to mark up in hard copy, so I saved it as a pdf on my tablet so that I couldn’t touch it while I took notes in a paper notebook. The paper notebook was spiral-bound and the back cover kept falling off which drove me almost as crazy as the editing process, but that’s beside the point. The point was that, with the novel in uneditable format, I wouldn’t be able to touch it directly, just make notes to apply later. That way I wouldn’t get stuck in the weeds.


Mmmm, weeds. With an “s”. It was harder to get sucked into tangeants when I had to handwrite each word, but I still did it, going on long correction rambles rather than just making a note of what needed to be fixed. I suspect now that if I had printed the sucker, I would have been less tempted to do that. Maybe next time.

The first pass was supposed to be about major plot holes, identifying scenes or sections that could be removed or that needed to be rewritten to convey their meaning, finding scenes that needed grounding, etc. I got stuck in a little deeper than that from time to time, though.

Now, I have 145 A5-sized pages of bullet list notes to go back and apply to the manuscript. Once that’s done, then we go to pass two (things that got missed in pass one), then on to wordsmithing, alpha, and beta readers.

It’s a long, long way to go, but the first editing notes are done!

The song after “Danse Macabre” was Dropkick Murphys’ “Victory”.

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