On our new and improved blog schedule, Wednesdays are dedicated to helping writers. This will be an easy day for me, as I thoroughly enjoy sharing learning experiences with others. Today I want to talk a little bit about editing.
About a month ago, I was accepted as a founding member of The Blood-Red Pencil. This is a blog specifically designed to share editing tips with writers. Most of the founding members are professional editors, so I was quite surprised, pleased, honored to be accepted.
Why would anyone need a blog about editing?
Many first time writers are surprised to learn the answer to that question. I think Maryann Miller said it best:
Developing the story and getting it down on paper – or stored on your hard
drive – is only the first step in writing a book. The next couple of steps are
crucial and infinitely more difficult – at least I think so. Rewriting and
editing to find just the right words and phrases can lift an average book into
the realm of good and maybe even great.
One of the very first rounds of Blood-Red Pencil posts covered topics associated with self-editing - processes, tips, tools (check out the posts between September 9 and 19.) In my post on September 19, I talked about the various tricks available to enable writers to edit their own work. So wasn't I surprised to find I left out the most effective trick. (Okay, this is subjective, but it is the most effective for me.)
Everyone has their own issues with self editing, but most of us share the trait of reading the words we expect to find on a page, rather than the actual words. This is why, after umpteen rounds of editing we still find sentences with missing words, homonyms, or a dozen other errors associated with words (rather than with grammar.)
So what do I do?
For one of the last rounds of editing, I read the chapters out of order. I believe this works for me because when reading out of order, I don't get engrossed in the story, so the errors easily jump off the page.
What works for you? Please use the comment link below to share your editing tips.