1. The95Writer
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    The95Writer Active Member

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    Most important points when editing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by The95Writer, Mar 17, 2014.

    So what are the things a writer must acknowledge whilst editing the book?

    I have Googled some; loads of points come up which is good, but the problem is the fact that there are 'loads'. What are the MAIN things to remember when editing?
     
  2. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I edit in layers, after the second draft, focusing on plot and pacing first, then dialogue and characterization, and then spelling/grammar/punctuation. If I catch a punctuation error, for example, while removing any plot holes, that's not a problem. I just try to avoid doing it all at once.
     
  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Depends on whether you want to focus on a content or grammar edit.

    Content is tougher cause your trying to pull everything together, not just make sentences readable. You want scenes and the overall plot, action, and the character arch to make sense. You need to fix plot holes, inconsistencies, make sure it's got good pace, that the conflict isn't too subtle, ditch filter words, keep pov on track. Tighten wordy passages, flesh out thin areas.

    I do them in separate edits.
     
  4. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    Lots of useful answers here.
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I like Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne and Dave King. These two people are professional editors.

    This is a good how-to book for correcting stylistic issues in particular. The chapter titles give a clue to content: Show And Tell, Characterization and Exposition, Point of View, Dialogue Mechanics, See How It Sounds, Interior Monologue, Easy Beats, Breaking Up Is Easy To Do, Once Is Usually Enough, Proportion and Voice.

    However, this is not about proofreading. Proofreading is catching actual typos, grammatical mistakes, punctuation errors, continuity errors. There isn't any easy way to do this. Just read carefully and slowly. It's even better if somebody else can ALSO check over the same bits of manuscript. Two pairs of sharp eyes are better than one.
     
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  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    One way to ensure good, slow, careful reading is to read your work aloud. That's what I do, and I always catch more typos that way than by reading silently, no matter how carefully I do it.
     
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  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I first tried this after you had suggested it once before on this forum, and I heartily agree. It also helps in catching wording that could be improved (at least I found that to be the case).
     
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  8. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I have a writing friend who has trouble seeing up close, either a screen or a printout. She types very well, but has a voice thingy on her computer to read everything back to her. She said it's very instructive to hear her writing read back to her in a monotone, by a computer programme! Her writing is consequently very lively indeed. If a computer voice can make your writing sound good, you're winning.
     
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  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Hmmm...how much do voice thingies go for these days?
     
  10. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    not a clue...
     
  11. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I always adhere(d) to this oration ruling...but I don't think it can be entirely right, in as much as there is that difference between the spoken and the written word. Baffling - wanting the piece to be open to narration, but irritating, dull - shoving in all the extra articles and prepojunctions.

    But then I'm probably the only person who sometimes prefers his first drafts over the polished event. Sometimes I lose the energy that brought me there in the first place.
     
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  12. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    You open a free soundcloud account, or download 'audacity' and buy a mic for £10.
     
  13. Michael Collins
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    Michael Collins Contributing Member

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    When I was a kid one thing they used to teach us at school to proofread starting from the end and working our way to the top.

    But I didn't like it, in fact I still hate editing and proofreading.
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, I never thought of that. Maybe a poet or short-piece writer like yourself needs to keep your first-draft energy. It certainly might slump later on if you start tinkering with it.

    Anyway, from what I've read of your writing here on the forum, it's fine first-time. It's fun, has energy. Bops up and down very nicely indeed. I can see where picking it apart and rearranging it might be a mistake.
     
  15. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    For me, my over-riding principle for editing is clarity; by which I mean words, punctuation, plot must be evident to be necessary and add meaning or style.

    I also think one of the key things is to get some distance from your work. I advocate using freelance editorial services once you seriously want to submit or publish, because there is a depth of value in having a fresh pair of experienced eyes on it. However, if you can't afford that, or can't justify the cost, then put it in a drawer for a couple of weeks before you try to edit, so that you distance yourself a little from the mistakes your over-involved brain won't see.
     

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