Like Hansel and Gretel leaving a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest, I leave little markers for myself as I edit. They're not as tasty as breadcrumbs, but they serve their purpose. They help me find my way back to whatever story I was originally trying to tell.
While editing Book Two (and now Book Three) of The Chosen of the Light, I've been finding it difficult to keep the story focused and moving. I'm using the techniques I learned from while editing Spirit Summoner, but I'm throwing in a trick of my own:
This idea won't work for everyone. Maybe it only works for me. But I thought I'd share it anyway. If anything it'll give you some insight into my own writing process.
That being said, I'm a planner when it comes to my writing. I like to know the story heading into it. I spend a good while sorting out many of the details in my head before I ever begin writing. I've tried to just let the story take me where it will, but the effects are often a disaster of plotholes. Now, I don't need every detail or even every character, but I must know the general direction of the story.
You might be asking what this has to do with editing and here's what I've found. Even the best planner cannot always stick exactly to the plan. Writing is fluid, as if storytelling. Sometimes, when you finally get to your planned ending, little changes along the way have changed the overall story.
When I begin editing, the first thing I do is run through the story, chapter by chapter. I give each chapter a quick perusal, then at the top of the page, I leave a comment indicating the POV and a light synopsis for what's happening. I can easily scan between chapters, giving myself a clear picture of the direction things need to take, and at the end of the book, I can tell what needs to be done to maintain the story.
The breadcrumbs remain in place until the very end, right before I send off to my editor. You never know when you're going to find yourself lost in the woods of your own writing.