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Swoon Author Tiffany Pitcock: The Writing Process and Hands-On Editing

As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’ve never been a big fan of editing. One reason is that it feels like getting scolded (though I understand that’s not what is happening). Seriously, give me a first draft any day. The other reason is that I’m a hands-on person. I can’t read a word document (or an ebook for that matter). I have to hold a physical copy in my hands. I have to be able to make notes and mark pages.

When I edit, I print out my manuscript and go at it with a red pen like a teacher grading midterms. I hand-write my outlines and my extra scenes and rewrites. It helps me visualize and keep track of the changes I am making, more so than I would be able to do in a word document. 

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A big part of revising Just Friends was moving scenes around. I had a hard time visualizing these moves. Whole chapters were moved around and condensed, and I felt lost most of the time. I’d put it off for days because it was too overwhelming. I’d have fifteen word documents open with different scenes in them, and I kept getting them confused. I was struggling hardcore and at the end of my rope. Then it hit me: I had to literally cut and paste.

I printed out the manuscript and cut out the scenes that were moving and taped them in the right places. I bought a whole bunch of page markers and had different colors for different meanings. Something has to be cut? Blue note. Something moved? Pink. Add a scene? Green. You get the picture.    

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Suddenly, it all made sense. I knew how to move them and how to make them work. Is it unconventional? Sure. Is it messy and time-consuming? Absolutely. Did it look like a child’s art project? You bet. But it helped me so much.

It’s also helped me enjoy the editing process much more, and feel like I have more control over my story. It wasn’t just people telling me to make changes anymore, but me deconstructing and reconstructing my work. It was a way to both improve and claim my work.

Author spotlight

Tiffany Pitcock

24. Writer. Reader. Sarcastic. I was born and raised in Arkansas, which isn't terribly exciting. I've wanted to be a ...

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