Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tuesday Tumbling Terms ~ Editing

Today's word is Edit.
ed·it 
1. a. To prepare (written material) for publication or presentation, as by correcting, revising, or adapting.
b. To prepare an edition of for publication: edit a collection of short stories.
c. To modify or adapt so as to make suitable or acceptable: edited her remarks for presentation to a younger audience.
2. To supervise the publication of (a newspaper or magazine, for example).
3. To assemble the components of (a film or soundtrack, for example), as by cutting and splicing.
4. To eliminate; delete: edited the best scene out.


It's one of the most time consuming thing a writer does besides actually writing the book. It is one of the most hated things short of writing a synopsis. There are some weird birds out there that live for this process and while I enjoy it...it's not my list as one of my favorite things to do.

What a good editor has...
  • It takes extensive knowledge of English grammar.
  • Time
  • Nit-picking
  • Deleting- sometimes entire sections
  • Weeding out all the filler words, "ly," "ing," and passive sentences
  • A good eye both narrow and broad
That's just to name a few.

There are different types of editing...
  • Developmental- outlines, drafts, content, organizational, rewriting
  • Substantive- overall clarity and accuracy, readability, and reorganization of paragraphs
  • Copyediting- spelling and grammar, consistent style and format, and cross checking references
  • Proofreading-  typographical errors
This is just the tip of the iceberg and you know with icebergs there's the largest portion still unseen. There's hundreds of different things each edit does. Granted as writers, we tend to do several of these things at once. But still we have to go through the process.

For me, I'll go through each step along the way and after I write "the end" several times. The next step is to have it go through my critique group who are grammar Nazis. My list of Beta readers (specific to genre) will catch the Substantive and Proofreading.

The key is don't feel as an indie author you have to go it alone. Ask or pay for help. If you pay for help, check the editors' history and background. Nobody is an expert in all areas. Even professional editors make mistakes or have an off-day. If you are getting the services for free, be patient. Not everyone is on your time schedule. Wouldn't you want them to be thorough and slow rather than quick and miss something?

But like anything, this is your baby and you call the shots within reason. If you are obstinate like I'm prone to be, and hard to work with no editors worth their salt will work with you. By the same token, if you look at it as a learning experience, it's easier to take some pretty hard blows your editors will dish out. AND believe me, they will. Some of your favorite lines or scenes will be cut as it's-just-not-working.

Are you going it alone? Should you be?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

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