The Many Layers of Editing

I came across this really great post on Popular Soda about the different types of editing out there. I thought it would be appropriate share since I've been on a critiquing kick lately.

The post gives clear examples of everything from concept edits to proofreading and the stuff that falls in between. It also talks about the benefit of starting with your big edits and ending with proofreading. This is such great advice. Just like Shrek and a humble onion, editing has lots of layers.

photo courtesy of Justin Smith

I wasted so much time on my first novel trying to edit each chapter to perfection before moving on to the next. I wish I had all the hours back I spent editing chapters that ended up getting slashed completely.

That being said, I have to do things a little out of order when I start a new editing project (hopefully I'll be doing this by later this week). Before I can focus on anything else, I have to run a spell check and get my formatting in place.

I know this is a complete waste of time, but it takes too much effort for me to ignore these things. I have a hard time concentrating on what's going on in the story when I know that the margins don't match on every page and red squiggly lines stare at me from every page.

It's worth the extra thirty minutes to run the spell check and do a format paint on the whole document. Once it's done, I can concentrate on all the other stuff that needs work.

So what about you? Do you have any quirks you work around when it comes to editing? A special food, hat, pen you need to do your best work?