An Editing Chat with the Lovely Holly Brown


I’d like to invite Holly Brown back to the blog. I hope you’ve really enjoyed these convos with writers on editing over the past few weeks. This is going to be the last one of this “Editing Series” as I have some new exciting things coming this way. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the other chats with authors about their editing style at the bottom of this post. Enjoy & have a great Writerly Wednesday!

1. What is your editing style like?

I don’t know how orthodox it is, but I tend to edit in layers. I like to re-read the last chapter (sometimes two) before I write another one, and this is when I do my first edits. I usually spot glaring grammar mistakes, typos, and general inconsistencies in this first edit. It also helps me to be in a better frame of mind before embarking on a new chapter.

Ideally, by the time the book is finished, it’s already been through that one edit, and however superficial, it really does make a difference. Once the book is completed, and has been through it’s first edit, I read the entire book as though I’m reading it for the first time. I usually find more grammar errors, plot holes, and the like in this second edit.

Following this, I print the book do line edits as a hard copy. This is typically the most beneficial for me, personally, as there’s just something about reading a physical book that brings out my red pen and inner-editor. This last self-edit is generally spent focusing on the general appearance and nuance of the novel. Once everything is polished as best as I can get it, I send it off to beta readers so they can find what I’ve missed. Ideally, process will be completed twice.

2. While on a deadline, how do you stay on top of your edits?

I tend to shy away from traditional deadlines as much as possible I think part of that is my personality and the other is that my life as a stay-at-home-mom means my time for writing and editing is limited enough as it is. Strings of little emergencies and long days mean that some nights (Okay…most nights) my mind is too drained to create anything other than a desire to halfheartedly binge-watch something on Netflix. But, assuming that it’s the one or two nights a week that I’m not fried physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, I’ll binge-write or edit. I love those nights.

Generally speaking, I don’t give myself deadlines. When I decide to publish a book, I like to announce a week (i.e. Thanksgiving week) and then I work furiously one to three nights out of a week to ensure that my book is ready for my readers by said date. My farm-girl work ethic means that even if it takes more than an ideal amount of all-nighters, I’ll get it done by the only deadline I give myself (the publishing date).

3. About how many chapters do you aim to finish in a day?

When writing, I finish two chapters a night (one editing, one writing). When editing, I finish anywhere between one to four chapters. That really just depends on how much work needed to be done on those particular chapters.

4. How long (week wise) do you edit for?

I edit for the same amount of time that I spend writing, which is about three to four hours on any given night. If my husband is in the field, it could even be as much as six. That’s when I’m able to get my serious work completed, so it’s always a bittersweet time when he’s away.

Check out Holly’s book “Absolute Despotism” Here. Also, check out her amazing post here. And while your at it, follow her on facebook!

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5 thoughts on “An Editing Chat with the Lovely Holly Brown

  1. Holly, I think I might try out your process where you edit what you wrote the last night and then keep writing from there. I normally just plow through the first draft without changing a single thing, then go back through a second draft and do it that way (re-read, edit, press forward ad nauseam)

    Fun insight into your process.It’s also awesome to know that you are able to carve time out of your busy day to write and get those things done!

    1. It’s a neat process to edit, isn’t it? I am also like you, in the way that I just write the whole thing out and come back to edit it. I think for my next book though, I will probably try this practice.

      Glad you enjoyed the interview, Katie. Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great day!

  2. Pingback: My Editing Style

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