After I plowed through my first serious attempt at a manuscript and typed the magical words “The End”, I went to page one, read the first sentence, then proceeded to make it a much better sentence. Then I did the same for the second sentence and soon I had a beautiful first paragraph. And so on. Yeah. I did it. I edited a nice big chunk of the manuscript and then a terrible thing happened. A plot hole. Uh oh. What to do? So I fixed the plot hole—after major revision. Revision that branched back into sections that I had already painstakingly edited. No problem. Just edit it again.
So I worked further through the manuscript and guess what. Yeah, another plot hole that required revision back through previously edited work. Somewhere after about the twelfth edit I fixed all of the structural problems with the manuscript, but I hadn’t yet learned my lesson. And it really pains me to own up to that one. Because when I started my second novel I made the same mistake again. (Okay these weren’t really my first and second novels… There are three trunk novels that I don’t like to talk about that I wrote a very long time ago just to see if I could stick with it and produce novel length work. Those stinkers were never edited. And never will be.)
And this isn’t the only sin I committed that made editing all the more difficult. I have a bad habit (I still do this one…can’t seem to stop myself) of reading back through previous work and editing a bit as I go. Total freakin waste of time, but I do it anyway.
This is small picture editing. Don’t do it. Save yourself before it’s too late.
What are your editing mistakes? What have you learned to make it easier on yourself?