Thank you to Ryan Lanz for this suggestion-packed article, which first appeared on his website, A Writer’s Path.
For some writers, editing strikes fear into their hearts. Okay, perhaps not fear, but some discomfort. At least a stomach ache, right?
Before you reach for the antacids, let’s discuss the different methods of editing and introduce some ways that might make it less intimidating.
Why do we edit?
I know, it’s a simple question. But as you’ve observed in some of my past blog posts, I strive to get to the root of the subject at hand. By mastering the basics, we can reach many heights (thank you, fortune cookie from lunch).
- To look professional
- To keep from annoying or putting-off your readers
- For the writer to further prove that he/she is not an amateur
- To avoid discouraging an agent, editor, or publisher from considering your manuscript
I imagine those all seem pretty obvious. The last item was particularly interesting to me, though. I’ve read many interviews where literary agents say that spelling/grammar errors are often within the top three pet-peeves. One commented that a writer can’t be trusted with a book deal if the same writer can’t be trusted with basic grammar.
Types of Editing
That also brings us to the different types of editing. I once thought this was fairly straight-forward. Ah, but the life of an editor is anything but simple. There are many types of editing that one can do. Here are some of the different categories:
- Line Editing
- Substantive Editing
- Developmental Editing
- Manuscript evaluation
- Manuscript critique
Related: Check out available proofreaders and copyeditors here.
Some editors process these terms/categories a bit differently, but essentially it depends on how detailed you want an editor to go. Sometimes, it’s just easier to pay an editor to work on your manuscript; however, you can always go the route of self-editing.
So, how do you self-edit? This isn’t too difficult on the surface, but there are a few methods that might help to keep in mind.
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