Sunday, August 6, 2017

What Writers Do: Hardcore Edit

Lock the doors, clear your schedule, and be ready to scrutinize your manuscript with the eye of an editor. The Hardcore edit is the most brutal of all edits. It takes days if not weeks and requires you to check over your first draft with a white glove and a fine tooth comb.

The Hardcore edit happens after you've finished the first draft of your manuscript and have left it alone for 1-6 months. You brush it off, print it out and grab a red pen. Yes, a red pen. I also suggest using a 1' margin on all sides and a 1.5 line spacing so that there is room to jot down any changes that need to be made.

"But Jenny, my manuscript is perfect," you say and I roll my eyes. No, nothing is perfect the first time around. If you try to publish your first draft, be prepared for MAJOR and PAINFUL rejections (though you should probably be prepared for those anyhow).

"But Jenny, I have spell and grammar check. Why would I need to edit it?" Because it misses things, not to mention you are putting your writing style and your story at risk. Not doing a hardcore edit can severely damage the chances of your book being published.

The hardcore edit is a must, especially for those that have been strictly relying on programs like MS Office or Grammarly to help with their book. In my personal experience, those programs don't catch everything and they can even hurt your writing style, along with the missed words or wrong words that are skipped over.

Trust me, printing it out and reading through it is eye-opening. I have done this with one other F.D. and I love the way it turned out. Printing it out and having it in my hands also gave me a small burst of happiness too, because it was no longer just on the computer. Somehow, printing it makes it more "real."

During the hardcore edit, nothing is exempt from getting scrapped. Full sentences are deleted, changed and/or rewritten, or added (if not full scenes). Something isn't cohesive? Scrap it! One character would NEVER say that? Rewrite it! Oh, wait that wasn't the word that was supposed to go there!?! (thank you auto-wreck). Fix it! Wait, this scene doesn't contribute to the plot or character growth in any way. Scrap it! NOTHING IS EXEMPT.

Having said that. I'm 54 pages into editing the manuscript for book one and not one page is clean of red marks. I have 122 pages left in book one plus 302 pages in book II. This will be my main focus over the next few weeks. I will be taking my manuscript with me wherever I go (If I go anywhere) and editing when I have a free minute.

Due to this, everything else (besides one big life event I'm working on), is going to be put on hold... And blogs may be later than usual. (Looks at calendar) Yeah, this one is the latest I think I've ever posted one. So, Please be patient with me as I have now covered a quarter of my printed work in red ink and have three more quarters to go... Yay!(unenthusistic).

Go Be Awesome! (looks at time) Or Go to Bed!

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