Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Begin Recovery by Andy Scheer

I just had to reconstruct three pages of editing.

While I didn't enjoy the process, it yielded an improved result. Maybe that's also been your experience.

I'm a third of the way though a client's 85,000-word nonfiction manuscript. Using tracked changes on a file that large puts a strain on my three-year-old little computer.

A few previous system freezes convinced me of the need to save this file often, usually after editing each paragraph. But this afternoon I let nearly fifteen minutes elapse before the attempted save that caused the system to lock up.

So instead of editing another page or two fresh, I revisited three previous pages.

Recreating the most difficult editing came easily. Because I'd pondered the solutions, they remained caught in my short-term memory. Likewise the obviously needed changes, such as removing excessive use of italics and splitting long, complex sentences.

But with the hard edits and the easy edits out of the way, my eyes caught a fresh glimpse at passages that were okay, but could still benefit from polishing.

First drafts of editing are like first drafts of writing. There's nothing like taking a hard, fresh look at your work, whether a week later, the next morning, or after a crash.


Anonymous said...

I found this post helpful. I will be taking on my first big editing project soon. 45,000 words. Being reminded to save and review your edits is a great words of wisdom. I was editing a portion of a short story not to long ago and the plug came loose form my laptop. I hadn't replaced the battery yet so everything shut down. The newest edits were not saved. Needless to say I purchased a new battery right away.

Rick Barry said...

When working on a frighteningly ancient laptop while traveling, I adjusted the Autosave feature of my Word file to save changes every 2 minutes. After I did that, I experienced no more crashes, but it was comforting to know my additions would be recorded even if I forgot to click Save manually.