My thoughts on writing tips found online and in published works (with some random thoughts thrown into the mix).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The First Step in Editing

If you want to be an editor, or if you are a writer who needs to edit your drafts, then there is one tip that I would like to share with you today.

The most important thing you can do is approach the manuscript as a reader. If you are the writer, you need to forget that you wrote the piece and that you know what happens. Instead, you have to immerse yourself in what is actually present on the page in front of you. If you are an editor, instead of examining what you want to change or fix in the draft during the first read-through, you need to approach it as a new reader.

This point of view will allow you to evaluate the story AS a story. Did you like it? Did certain parts seem to drag? Were certain parts confusing or seem out of place? Did the characters seem believable and could you relate to them? Was the plot believable and easy to follow? Was the language and any dialectic appropriate and easy to read? Approach the manuscript as a reader and you will be able to find the holes and misprints in the story.

After the first read-through, then you can turn to the editing process. If you are the author, go back and change what you noticed needed some work. Then, read it again from a reader's perspective to see if it works. If you are an editor, now is the time to pick up that red pen or turn on Track Changes in Microsoft Word and get cracking. Yes, this means you will have to read it again to catch everything, but now you have an idea of the overall effect and will be able to improve upon the story itself, instead of just the grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

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