Edit It Cold

by Andy ScheerAndy Scheer 2014

Self-editing becomes easier with a few days’ perspective.

My writing, like me, could stand to lose 30 pounds. Despite my best efforts to write lean and edit leaner, extra words still slip in.

Ironic, since much of my editorial work consists of liposuctioning others’ writing.

“Overwriting is certainly one of my literary vices,” a recent client said after I sent my version of his opening chapter, “so please feel free to apply a chainsaw … as you see fit.”

He may not realize I do the same with my own words.

For this website, I sometimes adapt articles I wrote for another blog.[cryout-pullquote align=”left|center|right” textalign=”left|center|right” width=”33%”]Each time, I open the file hoping I won’t have to change much. I’m almost always wrong.[/cryout-pullquote] Each time, I open the file hoping I won’t have to change much. I’m almost always wrong.

Weeks have passed, enabling me to see it more objectively. Instead of seeing what I meant to write, I see what I actually wrote.

Time to start cutting.

In his Thick-Skinned Fiction Clinics, bestselling novelists Jerry B. Jenkins advises writers to print their work, put the pages in the freezer overnight, then look at them cold.

With some metaphoric allowance, that works for me.

About Andy Scheer

With more than 30 years in publishing, Andy Scheer has provided freelance editorial services since 2010. He has edited fiction and nonfiction for publishers including Moody, WinePress, and BelieversPress, as well as for clients including Dirk Cussler, McNair Wilson, DiAnn Mills, Heather Day Gilbert, and Sammy Tippit.
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