Thursday, 30 August 2012

Update on my Self Editing - THE DON'T TOUCH METHOD


It is easy to get started on the Editing. Reading through, I was bound to find errors of all sorts - punctuation, grammar, spelling, typos, sentence construction, and other ....plot inconsistencies, etc. This bogged me down, and the process was becoming such a headache, that it became slow to the point where I really didn't want to continue with it.


It is not easy to keep reading and trying to overlook these errors as they meet the eye. It feels like sand blowing into my face and me still walking in a sand storm with my eyes open wide, as each spelling mistake or missing word hits me.

BUT!!! I have taken the advice of a clever author, Nell Dixon, who gave a talk at the Romantic Novelists's Conference this July. This was her advice.


1. Don't rush. Leave it for as long as possible. Distance gives clarity.

2. Read through but don't touch.* Very Important!!

     a. Make a note of bits you want to change.

      b. Change the font when editing. It helps to make you see it differently.

       c. Transfer to Kindle

3. Take out. Add in the next read.

4. Polish - another read

5. Work backwards for final edit. Yes, read your work backwards to comb through for errors. 

6. Pay attention to the Last Chapter. First chapters are usually polished to death, but not enough attention is paid to the last chapter. That sells it to the publisher. 

Well, I am currently doing No. 2 - reading through The Jeweller's Daughter, making notes in a separate note book on each chapter on changes to be made. I'm using different colours - black or blue to indicate the highlights of the chapter, green for a really good bit, red for what needs changing.

It is working, because I am getting an overall view of the whole plot as the reader would read it. The temptation is there to make small edits, but I am fairly strict with myself. 

I am surprised and pleased though, how well some chapters are reading already - pacey, emotional and full of tension. 

However, I do have a biggie to fix! I believe that my Main Character, Latchmin is not as likeable and strong as her friend, Sumati, the wild one, who seems to be taking over with her subplot. Sumati is getting a lot of action! This needs sorting. Could be a big change, or increase Latchmin's involvement in the action. 

Reading without editing, means that I am reading it faster, so inconsistencies in the plot are more noticeable. 

I am really pleased I took this advice. Thanks Nell Dixon, I think it is working for me, so far.

Editing is a long, slow, and confusing process, and this makes the need for areas for structural changes much clearer. 


  1. Sound advice, Marilyn. Glad it's working for you. I can tell myself that that is what I am doing too. I'd be lying though. Procrastination is my problem!

    1. Hi Anne, I understand procrastination too. The good thing with the Not Touch method, is that it allows you to see the big picture - the broad brush strokes, instead of getting bogged down in the detail.