Editing with Steven James

Steven James, Editing, Writing, Devin Berglund1. What is your editing style like?

Old school. I print out the book I’m working on and then make changes by hand, type those in, then go at it again. I find that when I edit on the computer screen, I just don’t catch as much and my prose becomes bloviated. I do some free writing on my keyboard, but all of my editing has to be done by hand or my story suffers.

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

Well, over the last decade I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been under a deadline, so I suppose this is an easy question to answer—I work as hard as I can and try not to sweat it. I have a sign in my office that says, “Focus on progress not deadlines.” And I suppose that’s my philosophy—keep plugging forward and don’t let stress interfere with the story.

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

I typically don’t go by word count or chapter length, rather, I time myself and shoot for a certain number of hours. (The goal each day varies on my other obligations and where I’m at in the project, but it’s usually 5-8 hours.) I actually have a stopwatch and when I get up to get a cup of coffee I stop the clock and only let it run when I’m actually working on my manuscript. In addition to this writing and editing, I work in my other obligations (like answering blog questions, email, interviews, etc…). I write most days

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

This isn’t meant to be a smart-ass answer, but until the book is done. When I can’t improve a book anymore, then it’s done, then I’m through editing. If I can improve it then I make the necessary changes. Most of my books take me between six and eighteen months writing full-time, depending on how long they are.

Check out Steven James books on his website, follow him on FB, and read his blog.

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9 thoughts on “Editing with Steven James

  1. Interesting to see someone doing it old school. I often wonder if I would do better (and more) writing longhand…something to consider! Great interview.

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