Home > Copywriting, Fiction, writing > The one super secret to excellent editing

The one super secret to excellent editing


(drum roll)

Save as.

No really.  Save as is your ticket to being absolutely ruthless.  It is your ultimate chainsaw for hacking out those passages in your work that are funny, cute, profound, and just lovely, but are sadly unnecessary.

I’ll give you a scenario.  You have a passage that you love, love, LOVE (i.e. you think this might just be the best, most clever little piece of writing you’ve ever put to paper and cutting out will give you a MASSIVE HEAD EXPLOSION!!!).  BUT, it’s not really driving your plot or character development (or, for you copywriters out there, does nothing to make people want to buy the product).

No worries.  Just hit “save as” and create a new version.  This can be your cut to the bone version.  And you can hack everything out.  It doesn’t matter.  Because you have your full version with all the lovely passages that you can’t bear to lose.  You’re not really deleting anything!  It’s so liberating!

Of course you’ll ultimately have to make the decision whether to include those lovely, though perhaps useless, bits.  But by then, you may find you’ve got a far better piece of work than you started with.

So the next time you need to do an excruciating edit, save a new version and hack away.  Believe me, your final will be better for it.

Categories: Copywriting, Fiction, writing Tags: ,
  1. January 4, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    I do that too! I’m glad I’m not the only one who uses “save as” to make different versions of my novels. Some of my stories, which have been brewing a long time, I have so many versions of it is almost getting out of hand.

    • January 6, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      Yeah, I tend to have a whole folder of different drafts for each one. It’s also nice to be able to go back and see how far you’ve come.

  2. January 5, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    ditto. It’s a great idea until you have one folder full of dozens of copies of the same story – and you leave it for a while and come back with no idea which was the final version.

    The number of times I’ve made edits on the wrong version of a story, only pausing halfway through thinking ‘I’m sire I corrected that horrible sentence once already…’

    Still though, without save as I’m sure I’d find it harder to make drastic changes 🙂

    • January 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      I know! It’s like a personal lesson in the importance of systematic labeling (which I’m still really rubbish at)!

  3. January 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    Girlfriend. Truer words were NEVER spoken. For true. I have no idea how people just hit delete because I have to work myself out, wait for the meat around the wound to stop being tender as it were, before I can be SURE enough to hit delete. But have seventeen versions? Yes, ma’am.

    • January 10, 2011 at 10:53 pm

      Yeah, lately I’ve gotten so bad that I make a new version every time I delete ANYTHING. Even “that” or “really.” And, lets face it, I’m really never gonna want to put “really” back into a final version. I mean really!

  4. January 11, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    This is so true. I hate having to cut something I really love but just doesn’t fit. But this little tool saves our writing minds doesn’t it?

    • January 24, 2011 at 12:16 am

      So true. At least it’s always still there – even if it never sees the light of day.

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