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An Author’s Guide to Editing, Part One

Loving Tips From Love2edit

Darlene Catlett, Copy Editor

 

Fifteen years ago, while working for a small Christian ministry, I stumbled into editing. Someone handed me a newsletter and asked me to proofread it for typos. I must have pointed out some things of value, because I found myself being assigned to proofread ads and other marketing materials, and finally I was asked to proofread a book. As I gained experience over time, my knowledge and skills grew, and I came to realize that I love to edit.

Is it true that writers consider writing to be the fun part and editing to be the boring part? I’ve heard that editing is the way to turn bland content into a work of art, or milk into ice cream!

As an editor, my perspective is different than yours. In order to sweeten the idea of editing, I put together a few editing tips for you. One of them may be just what you’re looking for!

  1. Let it be. Allow time in your schedule to write one day and edit the next. Or perhaps you can write in the morning and edit at night. If your deadline is too close to do either of those, at least get up out of your chair, walk away, and do something that will take your mind off your writing for a few minutes.
  2. Pretend someone else wrote it. If you have the luxury of setting your writing aside for several days, it may seem like someone else actually did write it!
  3. Round two. For larger works, edit in more than one sitting.
  4. Use highlights as you edit. Start out by highlighting everything. When a section is good to go, eliminate the highlight.
  5. Slash and save. When you edit out a thought, phrase, or illustration, save it somewhere to be used later. Create one document of slashed ideas and call it your Parking Lot.
  6. Read it out loud. Read it very quickly to see if there’s anything you stumble over. Read it slowly with slightly exaggerated expression as though you are reading it to a group of children. Read it to someone else and ask them to give you an honest critique.
  7. Don’t rely on spell check. So many mistakes slip through if you trust too much in technology to find your errors, i.e: though ≠ through ≠ thorough, my ≠ may, the ≠ they, must ≠ most.

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Please join me in one of the following workshops this July at the Montrose Christian Writers’ Conference to look at your writing from an editor’s perspective:

Aspects of the Editing Process

Let’s talk about what seems like top-secret information! Learn the difference between proofreading and copy editing and gain insight into the typical processes of a freelance editor and a publishing house. We’ll discover what it means to be “serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!

Proofread with Excellence (Proofreaders’ Lingo)

In this lighthearted, hands-on workshop, we’ll have fun mastering all those puzzling proofreaders’ marks. As writers, you may see these marks during the pre-publication proofing stage, in style manuals, or from an editor prior to submitting your manuscript to an agent or publisher. Let’s decode some of the most useful ones together, and I’ll give you a tool that will save you time, should you have a need to use these markings in the future.

Darlene shares her joy of copy editing through various speaking events where attendees learn about her five C’s of copy-editing: to make the copy Clear, Correct, Concise, Comprehensible, and Consistent. Darlene lives by this motto: “I’m serious about editing… but not too serious to enjoy a good laugh over it!”

Learn more at http://www.love2edit.com

I hope to see you at Montrose this July!

Marsha, Director

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