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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2008-01-30 19:39
Subject: [process] Line level edits vs scene level edits
Security: Public
Location:Omaha
Mood:tired
Music:hotel noises
Tags:process, writing
davebara asked (in part):
Could you delineate the difference, in your mind, of line-by-line to scene-by-scene?
I answered:
Line-by-line, to me, is where I'm going through looking for echoes, clunks, passive constructions, crutch words, infelicitous phrasing and flat out typos. Often I do this by reading aloud. Generally speaking, this read isn't looking for plot, character or continuity issues, though of course I don't ignore them if such beasts jump out at me.

Scene-by-scene might be a misnomer, but I'm reading a level above the lines. Here's where I'm checking for character issues, plot bobbles, potholes in continuity or storyflow — especially trying to figure out of I missed something. Still not reading it holistically (ie, as a reader), but not looking at the mechanics of word and sentence either. As with the other direction, I don't ignore line level stuff if it jumps out, but that's not the snark I'm hunting.
Just in case anyone else was wondering...

Later I may ruminate more on other levels of editing. Meanwhile, feel free to ruminate on this topic your own selves in comments.
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User: joycemocha
Date: 2008-01-31 04:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
One frustration I have with writing groups and writing workshops is that too many I've been in focus on the line editing level rather than the scene editing level. I do prefer to do my own line edits--what I usually want to know is "does the character work? does the situation work? Am I dropping expository lumps here?"

The line edit crew also seems to want to tinker with writer voice, which can be frustrating. The difference between a skilled editor and someone who's just trying to make your voice more like theirs is very enlightening.
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