I’ve been working with the theory of passing – a form of editing that involves checking your paper for a single aspect and then repeating through a list, and I feel like this method has been really working well for me. It keeps the task from feeling overwhelming, and helps me stay focused.
It also reminds me a lot of CUPS, which works in the same theory, working in passes over your paper while checking for specific aspects of copy editing.
I’d like to propose another acronym for editing. But first, I have to examine what I’d like to check for:
1. Concise writing
2. Understandable timeline
3. Tense conflict
4. Smooth transitions
5. Original plot line/characters
6. Many internal reflections + reactions
7. Evocative imagery
CUT SOME sounds pleasantly terrible when you consider it’s in respect for a book, not necessarily your dinner. Ha. And it’s a nice phrase to keep in mind while editing. I’ve found that I tend to deviate within my writing, and although it can be timely, a lot of the times, it drags out a scene and becomes distracting. Cutting has helped me a lot…
Also not a healthy phrase to say at a party.
But each of these is something I would recommend to check within a pass while editing. Change as you see fit.
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Edit: I want to remind myself: Action, reaction, reflection. These are the most important pieces of a story, and without these, your story is lifeless! I definitely think there’s such a thing as over-editing, which might cause me to go back and write straight up scenes to inject life back into a piece. Tragic, I know.