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Tip Tuesday #104

Tip Tuesday is a recurring feature where blog readers send in tips for fellow writers. If you'd like to send in a tip, please e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com.

Tip Tuesday time! I have a fantastic tip by Martha Ramirez today and it's perfect for those of you mulling over critiques and editorial letters. Martha has a website where you can find her books and also blogs at Martha Ramirez - Writer Unleashed. Please give her a visit after you're finished reading here. Enjoy!

Conquering Edits and Crits

Your editor's name (or maybe it's your fabulous critique partner) appears in your inbox and you can't wait to hear what she's/he's got to say about your baby. You open up her/his editorial (critique) letter and it's five hundred pages long. Oy. Okay, I'm exaggerating but you the picture. You let out a good cry and wonder how you'll ever tackle them.

I'm here to tell you—You. Can. Do. It!

The first thing I find helpful after reading over the suggestions is tackling the little ones first. I like to get them out of the way. It makes my TO DO list a little less daunting.

Next, after tackling the "easy" ones first, I print out the detailed suggestions on the more complicated ones and then reword for easy comprehension. In other words I summarize what I have to do so I don't get lost in all the detail when it comes time to go down the list.

I find if I make the things I have to tackle clear, then when it comes time to take care of it, it becomes a little less complicated. The biggest thing that has helped me organize edits and crits is bullet pointing a list.

I make a bullet point list for the bigger suggestions. I'll have a page of my bullet point TO DO list and then I also have my printed version of detailed suggestions for reference if my memory bails out on me, which it often does.

So that's pretty much it.

Bottom line: Go through small issues first. Then print out detailed notes on the bigger concerns, and lastly summarize those concerns and bullet point them for your TO DO list for easy access.

I find this not only makes me more organized but by seeing a bullet point list, it tricks my brain into thinking this isn't so bad, all I have to do is go down the list. And if I need help, I just glance at my detailed notes.

Happy editing!

~Martha Ramirez


  1. Great tip! Will need this one in the near future.

  2. Great tips. I have my manuscript with beta readers and will need these tips hopefully really soon.

  3. So true! I usually let the big change ideas simmer awhile before tackling them. It helps put it in perspective. :)

  4. So far I've only gotten notes from CPs about sections of my novel. The full thing is out with them now, though, so I'm hoping to get some great advice.

  5. Great and very timely tips for me. Thanks so much!!

  6. I love the idea of taking care of the small stuff first. I'm going to try these tips. Thanks Martha!

  7. That's a great tip. Lots of times I'll fix the things that are easy and highlight the ones I need to think about some more.

  8. I tackle the small stuff first too, and often need to let the big stuff simmer. But then I end up with a jumble of notes as I work through the bigger issues. Keeping a separate bullet point list is perfect - thanks for sharing!

  9. Thanks! That's a good way to tackle them, methinks. I'll try it.

  10. Great Tip! I too have sucumbbed to almost tears looking at the red "ink", but this may help!

  11. Thank you guys so much!!

    I found that condensing and bullet pointing is the only thing that saves my butt when I'm feeling overwhelmed. :)

    Makes me feel a bit more organized too lol.

    Hope it helps.

    Thank you so VERY much for having me, Casey!

  12. Hi Mart, it's great to see you here! I do much better when I have a step-by-step plan to follow. Breaking down the goliath that needs accomplishing into smaller bites works for me! My crit partner, Bulldog, says the very same as you - bulletpoints!

    Thanks for your insight!

  13. Hi Casy, thanks for the tip. I belong to an online critique group, and the hardest thing for me is to get right to the revisions after I get their feed-back. I've never tried the bullet method. Thanks.

  14. Super tip! We've all been there.

  15. Super tip! We've all been there.

  16. Super tip! We've all been there.

  17. Super tip! We've all been there.

  18. Awesome tips, my friend. LOL, oh boy do I know the feeling of seeing my CP's name in my inbox. I usually open the crit with my hands over my eyes.

  19. What a great tip! Breaking big items into smaller "doable" ones always makes them easier to tackle. Thanks!

  20. As a recent recipient of one of these missives, I can use all the tips I can get. Thanks, Martha and Casey!

  21. WONDERFUL idea, Martha. Thanks for this. It will help make the moment less horrific and overwhelming for me - should it ever come. LOL :D

  22. This is perfectly timed for me, as I just received some edits I need to tackle! :-)

  23. Excellent tips! For me, I like to read my MS with the suggested edits in mind. I can mark places where I can tackle the big issues, the small, and everything in between. I don't actually do it. I just read to find places to do it.

    Then I dive in.

  24. Thank you again, Martha, for the great tip. I love the idea to summarize the big edits and make them more organized and manageable!