On Editing

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The idea behind this post came from my inbox, from an email from Writer’s Digest. I read an article from 2011 by BRIAN A. KLEMS on editing. Check out his version of the Lesser Known Editing Symbols and put some fun back into editing!

Many of us enjoy the editorial process, you don’t have to be a writer for very long before you realise editing needs a whole different headspace to the writer brain!

As I fell through the rabbit hole of articles on editing, I realised it has been a while since I posted a technical post to AWF, so mostly with thanks to Writer’s Digest, (I have added my own pearls of experience too), here we go!

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MY QUICK GUIDE:

  1. As we all know: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to write a bad first draft. Don’t expect it not to be.
  2. Let it rest, leave it to marinate, don’t be tempted to lift the lid for a peep. Drawers are good places for printed m/s to take a break. Leave it for at least a couple of weeks if you can, months even.
  3. Return to read it (out loud) with fresh eyes.
  4. By reading aloud you will discover any areas which don’t make sense or trip you up. Mark/Highlight these. Spell checked homophones. Tenses.
  5. Spot any inconsistences with character/setting.
  6. Choose your favourite colour/pen and explore, re-read, seek out golden nuggets. They may still need editorial development – but these parts work (for now*) and you don’t want to lose them yet.

*By draft 3 or 9 these golden parts may no longer fit – if they truly are amazing make note of them and file them to be embedded into future work.

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GO DEEPER

Read this article by guest columnist Laura Toffler-Corrie. Revisions: What Every Writer Should Know.


GET SERIOUS!

The Revision Process: How I Prepared My Book for Publication

This article was written by Madeline Sharples. She is the author of Leaving the Hall Light On (Lucky Press, May 2011).

Madeline Sharples delves into her editing process and encourages us to write an editing schedule. This is not something I have done, but then the longest m/s I edited was Novella length. I probably did a schedule if I glued together all the individual To Do Lists which were part of my process.

There are 7 Top Tips covered in this article.

  1. Create a revision plan
  2. Don’t edit as you write
  3. Use a hardcopy
  4. Have others review your work
  5. The subjectivity of reviews
  6. Create a schedule with Milestones and STICK TO IT
  7. Keep going until you are satisfied.
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My practise does include some of her 7 Top Tips: I tend to recarpet in m/s pages rather than using a wall. Mainly because there is less free wall space available to us at 5’4! My work is often peer reviewed, I am part of several editing groups and another opinion is always valuable (but remember, also subjective).

I do create schedules and action plans. Often they are bitesize, by week or monthly overview of action. I forgive myself when I don’t stick to them.


So enjoy the writing process and take a deep breath before you begin editing. Like your writing ability, editorial skills will develop with experience. Remember to repeat what works for you, find a system of editing that you can enjoy and keep a copy of that first draft so you can see how far the m/s has come!

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