So, I'm back in the swing of editing "Surrender." Lots of work to do still. I tend to follow the "write with your heart, edit with your head" motto. My first drafts are wordy, clunky, and and a bit rushed, from time to time. I love, love, love writing, but I'm also a huge fan of revision. For some people it's the most tedious (and time consuming part), and it is for me too. However, I still love it. I love being able to step back and look at things with a fresh eye. About 1.5 months passed between my first edit (for storyline gaps and plot as a whole) to this edit (tearing apart and rebuilding sentences/scenes). I'm sure having more time in between would be good, but I feel like I'm at a place where I can look at things objectively: some of the glory and excitement for having finished a first draft is gone. Now, it's about getting down to business.
At this point I'm still hand editing and then taking those edits to the computer. In later drafts, I'll stick with digital editing (because the idea is that the story won't need huge edits anymore and it's easy to scan through and make tiny changes). I feel a bit bad about hand-editing sometimes because I'm using tons of paper (about 580 pages, which I'll recycle in the end). But I feel like I see the words differently when they're on a piece of paper versus the computer monitor. I also like that you can still see what you cross out and then maybe change your mind later. When you edit on a computer the words vanish (unless you're using track changes, but I never do with my own work). Hand editing gives me a chance to reconsider changes once I bring them to the computer.
Sometimes editing is really hard. As a writer, it can be difficult to identify places where the story lags or if characters are completely uninteresting. I think you can get into the mode of "I love all of this!" (at least in the beginning) and that can be detrimental. I think readers come in at this point and give you a new set of eyes. It's then up to you to decide whether to take their advice or leave it on the curb. This can be a difficult thing to do to. When I get feedback, I try my hardest not to jump on immediate changes that are suggested to me. Oftentimes, especially if they are negative comments or things that someone really didn't like, it takes me a few days to process everything. I have this moment where I feel like I've been shot in the heart (initially), then I die a slow death on the sofa, and then my brain is like "get over it, heart, we've got work to do."
The following link is from The Adams Zone and are basically in-line with what I look for when I edit: Editing Tips for Fiction. I definitely have favorite phrases (and sometimes I'm not sure what they are until people point out that I've used "little" ten thousand times), and my first drafts are full of "she walked, she saw, she looked," which I try to remove whenever I can. One thing that I'd like to do, but it's not really working at this point, is trimming 20% of the story out (to make things tighter). At this point, I'm still adding to my novel (grrrr). This is probably because I'm still in love with it all and am not ready to part with scenes or characters.
So, what's your process? Do you write it all out first and then tear it apart or do you write-edit-write-edit-write-edit (a slower process, in my opinion, but a cleaner draft at the end)?