The green edits are done!

Green edits

I originally allowed myself thirty days for this part of the process, but did it in fifteen! As I got closer to the end, I reduced the date goal, because I like tidy graphs…

Normally when I edit, I meander around – reading, adding notes, watching TV, going back over the same parts again and again to get them perfect… on the first set of edits, I hear you ask? Well, yes, I am was a perfectionist.

But, no more! I’ve finally learnt. I worked steadily through the comments I made, although some of them still exist because I’m not quite sure how to execute them just yet.

There have been a lot of other changes though, a lot of additions (including, finally, a character’s reaction to an event that affected her deeply, but I ignored in my first draft!), and an awful lot of crossing out. However, the opening chapter is still shockingly bad, and the last chapter is dragging – but that’s okay. In fact, they might even still exist when I’m ready to share with my beta readers.

In the past, I have only shared my work when I’ve gone through extensive drafts, and made it as perfect as I can get. If people so much as point out a spelling mistake or punctuation anomaly, I’m devastated. I consider this to be a huge step forward in my writing attitude.


Green edit page
These edits have been nicknamed theΒ green edits, because of the green pen. The next edits will be theΒ red edits. And, because I do love a chaotic-looking draft, I’ll be making the changes on this same print-out!

Years ago – stop me if I’ve told you this before – my favourite subject at school was technical drawing (Yes! I’m so old, that was actually a separate and specific subject!) I loved the lines, the angles, the pencil chaos that became clear when my black pen – in two different thicknesses – created the picture. All the pencil marks were essential to get the right lines in the right place, but eventually they were erased and my cube (in my first year) or my detailed house floorplan (in my last year) was revealed.

I approach editing a manuscript in the same way, and it’s so satisfying when I see the final story revealing itself.

Next up: the red edits, trying to get my first and last chapters improved, and possibly extend the length. It may not be a very long novel – some of my recent reads have been under 50,000 – but I’m currently at 39k. That’s a good novella length, but I’m desperate to get a novel under my belt – my long-term goal depends upon it!

How many different colours do you use?

Do you edit by hand, or prefer to do it all on the computer?

30 thoughts on “The green edits are done!”

  1. Happy to hear you made it through the green round.

    I print out my work and use a pencil. I’ll go through it a couple times making changes before I enter it in the computer, print it out, and start in again. I usually do that about 4-5 times.


    1. If I wasn’t so worried about using up all the printer ink, I might print it out again. Unfortunately, my kids usually need to print stuff out for school! There is something satisfying about seeing the page layer up with different colours.


  2. Congratulations! It does sound like you’re making amazing progress. Kudos for taming that perfectionist beast and moving forward.
    Also, I’m old enough to remember technical drawing as a course! I also remember that I was terrible at it LOL.


  3. absolutely love the positive graph……you are awesome. Green, red, go for a purple finale. So much progress and it sounds like you are having fun with this. Yes, a lot of work, but I sense joy. I have no doubt the final product will be kick-ass. Keep coloring……gotta love word choice and solutions for characters


    1. Ooh, purple, definitely. I have a nice turquoise too, if I feel the need for a 4th edit! I’m struggling with the opening chapters at the moment – they’re sooooo boring. I’m playing around with them at the moment. Hopefully I’ll figure it out.


  4. Glad to hear you are progressing with your editing and have found a way that works for you. I must admit I tend to edit mostly on the screen and then send to my kindle to read in an alternative format. Sometimes I print out particular chapters that need extra work, printing a whole novel does use a lot of printer ink!


    1. I reserve the Kindle read through for the final, ‘this is it and only needs minor alterations’ draft. That’ll be a little way off yet – I’ve just discovered flaws in the whole of the first half. There might be a blog post about it soon, when I stop crying πŸ™‚


  5. Congratulations of finishing the green editing!
    I print out, edit in pencil, make the changes on the computer, print it out again (the first version frequently involves so many edits it would be too confusing to work on that version!) and then edit again and make the changes on the computer. I tend to do 1) a structural edit; 2) a finer-tuning edit (or two, depending on how much I hate the thing by this point). Then it goes off to beta readers. I used to be like you and hope that they wouldn’t even find a misplaced comma etc, but I’m a little more chilled now (but only a little!). Another round of editing and then off to a professional editor for a (hopefully) final round.
    By which point I utterly hate, detest and loathe the thing. πŸ˜€


    1. I’m made huge changes to my first 10 chapters, so I won’t be making any more edits on my current print out. I hope this new for me way of working means I can ask for beta feedback much sooner than I normally would.


  6. Congrats on finishing those edits! I edit on the computer for my own stuff, but when I’m critiquing for my local critique group, we must print out the short stories and hand them with our critiques to the authors at the meeting. So I do an initial red edit and and then go back through again with blue or black. Depending on which kind of pen I can find! πŸ™‚


  7. Good for you, Annalisa. Things are shaping up nicely. I invested in coloured pens that rub out – dawd knows what they’re called – and I love them. I often make mistakes because my head moves faster than my writing hand – the amount of birthday cards that have read ‘Happy Birday’ is unbelievable πŸ™‚ No more. My super duper pens are fab. Enjoy the rest of your editing. Enjoy the process.


    1. Erasable pens definitely sound like something I could do with! I have the same head/hand problem that you do. It’s not so obvious when I’m writing by hand, but my ‘delete’ button gets a lot if use.


  8. Way to go! I did edits by hand WAY back in the day, but there’s no room for that much paper in my house. πŸ˜‰ Mine are all digital, but each stage of the draft is saved as a separate file so I can always backtrack if needed.


  9. I love the way you approach editing! I have to edit by hand. On the screen, I miss about half of the mess.


  10. Congrats on the new blog home! It’s great your edits are so organized and you’ve got your step-by-step process down pat. Don’t worry about that first chapter. We all know what that’s like. By the 20th revision, it should be perfect! LOL Good luck!


  11. I edit by computer and with the help of scribophile. I love to see other writer’s editing process. It reminds me of the first time I saw an outline made by J.K. Rowling. We all have such unique ways to organize our work.


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