Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | August 30, 2015

Editing As You Work

Today, I managed to complete the first draft of an intense action chapter.  It’s only five pages of normal text, but I’m pleased. My dear friend and mentor, Anne Carroll George (RIP) said five good pages were enough.  Much of the action in the chapter, including details, I’d “written” in my head before I started stroking the keys.

Of course, once I typed in the first lines, I started trying to polish as I went. That’s one of the stages of self-editing for me. Then I told my editor (my Wife, Marge) that I’d written a scene she’s been anticipating. She’s wonderful with her patience about my writing. Lucky me.

As I read from the screen of my laptop, I had to stop several times to add words; delete words and correct punctuation.

I’d read, in books on self-editing, that reading  one’s work aloud forces a different perspective. Yep. It works.

Now, a slightly different take on novels read aloud.

I subscribe to .  The first audiobook was free and I pay a painless $14.95 a month to be able to download audiobooks from their library.  Since I have several books of my own on the site, I like the idea.

Marge and I have made some long drives in the past few months. Listening to a good book makes the miles slide under the wheels more quickly.

But… yes, there’s a qualifier. I found that the work of a couple of authors (no names) I’ve respected does not translate to audio. I don’t mean the work wasn’t read well, it simply wasn’t prepared for a listener. Some phrases that a reader may have simply ignored kept popping up to became hopelessly redundant and annoying.

That’s yet another reason for novelists to read their work aloud before handing to a narrator. Once the narrator has completed reading the book, the author should feel obligated to listen to every minute and edit those needless repetitions.

Yours for good reading and listening.


  1. I edit as I write in two ways. First I read over every sentence I put down on paper as I do so. The next day, as a matter of continuity, I edit/rewrite the scene(s) from the day before just before I move onto the next scene, both reading silently and out loud. In this fashion, when I finish my “first” draft it’s actually at least a second draft.

    Ron Barak

    This communication may contain privileged, confidential or proprietary information. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender and delete. Thank you.

  2. Great advice on reading aloud. Also, contrary to popular writing advice, I do take the time correct obvious omissions, grammar issues and such.

  3. I agree, Rich. I correct as I go. For me it makes things easier. Thanks for your comment.

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