N. Renee Brown

Part-time Author, Full-time Book Junkie

Editing Styles

When it comes to editing there are two different types of people.

1) The putter inners and 2) The taker outers.

Having never really edited anything of length, I was never really sure which camp I was stationed in. I always assumed I was a taker outer, since I have a bad habit of putting in too many words…and having too many run on sentences…and generally talking too much. It was just a guess on my part, and a pretty good one, as most people who write like I do (with the “on at the mouth” disease) are taker outers.

At the same time I worried, because my chapters always seemed so much smaller than my fellow authors. I was struggling to make 2500 words per chapter, when others would easily make 4-5 thousand. For me, getting to 3 thousand meant dragging out the action…watering down the tension…and throwing in bits and bobs that were not only unnecessary but downright silly.

Well, having just finished editing Chapter 1 of “In Harm’s Way” I’ve figured it out. I am none of the above. I am firmly in the camp of the “tightener upper, putter inner”.

What is that you say?

Well, I started with 2300ish words. I ended with 3400ish words. During this 1000+ addition, I took out a ton of things that I saw as frivolous and tightened down the story into something primarily focused on the action going on around my main character. (I even had Day go over it for me, she helped tremendously! And although it is hard to listen to her criticisms, it really made this submission one of my best.  Thank you, Day!)

So now that I know where I stand, and I’m not going to worry so much if I run out of steam getting to 100,000 words on this novel. I’ll aim for 90thousand, and know in my heart that my internal editor will take care of the rest.

BTW, the response to Chapter 1 was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone liked the idea for the story, everyone liked the main character, and everyone liked the action. Of course, they had ideas for tightening the whole thing. Still, it won’t be hard to take those ideas and incorporate them which is a plus. I’m very lucky to have CVS on my side.

Peace to you.


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