editing – #WhatImWriting

I’ve read a lot of blog posts about editing in the last six months or so; some of them via our lovely ‘What I’m Writing’ linky and some from the blogosphere in general. They’ve all been interesting and I’ve often thought ‘hmm this could be useful information/advice/knowledge when I come to edit my novel in the future’. I’ve been making a mental note of a lot of what I’ve discovered – even a physical note from time to time – but by and large, I haven’t considered it relevant to me now. Not really.


Then this week I realised – ‘for heavens sake, never mind the half-finished novel you flippin’ idiot, ‘Editing’ is exactly what you are doing to your picture books at the moment! All these editing posts are relevant now! Now, Now, NOW!’

You see, I think I thought that editing – proper editing – was something you could only do to a novel. Obviously, as I write that, it sounds idiotic especially as I’m aware I’ve been editing my books for ages (not to mention my short stories, flash fiction, poetry and blog posts – duh). But I’d somehow, in my head, been categorising doing that as ‘tweaking’ my work or ‘looking at rhymes’ or ‘making a few changes’. Actually, what I’ve been doing these past two weeks in particular (as I’ve been preparing to send my three manuscripts to be professionally appraised) has been really intense editing.

I’ve put masses of time and effort into issues of rhyme and meter (as you’d expect, with rhyming picture books), but I’ve also written out characters that were slowing the story down, I’ve cut massive chunks of text, given characters new names, written them occupations to add depth to their role, thought (more) about story arcs, reader expectation and experience and considered the balance of emotions in both the characters and readers. Then I’ve gone back to the beginning and looked at the bits I’ve always loved and, with a critical eye, slashed some of those too. So many words have been assigned to the trash heap! And then, of course, I’ve thought about layout – I have little mock-ups that I’ve made to help me visualise how my manuscripts might look as books. So it’s been a proper editing process!

And now? Well, today I sent off all three manuscripts. They’re out of my hands… now I just have to wait for feedback.


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25 thoughts on “editing – #WhatImWriting

  1. Reneé

    Oh my lovely Maddy, I’m so proud of you! Well done on cracking on and getting the job done! Can’t wait to hear what they say DCC

  2. Iona@redpeffer

    That’s brilliant, looking forward to hearing your feedback. I’m getting to the stage where that’s what I need too. So it will be interesting to hear about your experiences-I’m not sure how healthy a perspective this is, but I kind of see editing as an ongoing process. Trouble with that is, one is never satisfied!

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Iona, I think it’s easy to let editing be an ongoing process but at some point you have to draw a line under it and just say ‘enough’! Am hoping I get useful feedback that I can incorporate and that I will end up with manuscripts I’m happy to send to agents and/or publishers. I’m scared they might not like my stories at all though – I need a little bit of positive feedback at least! x

  3. Dana

    Oh Maddy, that’s so funny! You’re been editing all along, and how intensely, on THREE books. Wow. Congrats on getting them out! My fingers are crossed for you, and my toes, etc. Regardless of what happens, that is something to take some serious pride in, what a lot of hard, and heart, work.

    1. Maddy Post author

      Thanks Dana! and you’re right about the work – hard and also full of heart – impossible to write without putting a little love in there! xx

  4. Zoe

    Well done! Wow, this is a brilliant post and not one but THREE books. I am in awe lady, in awe. Can’t wait to hear how you get on xxx

  5. Nicola Young

    How could you even think that you weren’t editing?! I’m glad you got to the point of sending them out. It was a good decision. Look forward to hearing what they say.

  6. Emily Organ

    How exciting waiting for the feedback! I’m sure it will help you with the process. I think there’s a blurred line between writing and editing. How much rewriting could be called editing I wonder? Is writing just the first draft or does it include the rewrites and the perfectioning? Who knows! I’m looking forward to seeing how your appraisal goes.

  7. Funky Wellies

    Wow, impressive how much you have achieved, sending off three manuscripts is quite something!
    Looking forward to hearing about the feedback you received. :) xx

  8. Carol Cameleon

    Well done you Maddy and the very best of luck! I can so relate to this post. I too have been editting or ‘tweaking’ as I call it, and in the process doing my very best to objectively cut some of my favourite parts. #whatimwriting

    1. Maddy Post author

      When you start cutting out your favourite parts then it definitely counts as editing and not tweaking I think Carol! xx

  9. Chrissie (@rantybeast)

    Eek. Must be close to The Day by now?

    I hate self- editing although I love editing other peoples’ stuff. I think I hate breaking the emotional attachment I have with things and we can all be far too hard on ourselves sometimes.

    Sorry about being so late with the commenting and thank you for keeping it all going even though I’ve been in a cave for the past few weeks x


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