Edit.. No wait… Editing… No…that’s not right…

Ah, editing. The best part of any writer’s

Editing is like

Okay, enough with the fancy strikethrough fonts. Editing is a super important part of any writer’s life. I actually rather enjoy editing (actually would love to be an editor for a publishing agency one day) and spend a good amount of time editing. The most important thing for writers is still to get your story down on paper, but editing is a pretty big deal.

I usually begin my editing electronically. After I finish a story I let it sit for a day (a week, a month, a year, forever, whatever) before I pull it back up and read it aloud. Yes, I feel terribly silly doing this. And it’s quite funny when someone else is around as I’m reading, “They beat him until his liver was see-through.” But hearing the sentences really helps me find where the flow of the language is. Does it sound natural? If I stumble over a phrase or a word, I read it again and then bold it. If I, as the writer, have a hard time reading it, a reader will absolutely struggle with it.

Reading aloud works really well with dialogue and poetry, but I use it for fiction pieces as well. The point is for it to be read and enjoyed so it should flow well and be simple to understand. Not say use simple words but it should sound effortless. Editing for me is less about grammar than it is about details like sound, consistency, plot holes, or just unfortunate wording. I correct grammar as I go but that is usually one of the very last things I look at.

When I am at what I feel is my final draft, I print it out and pull out a spiffy colored pen (green, purple, pink,etc) and set to marking anything that is off to me. This is also where I start looking for issues with grammar and spelling (things like typing witch when I meant which). I still make a lot of changes at this point. This is the piece I am currently editing and an example of one marked up page. (note the awesome green ink. Love that pen. Sharpie pens are AWESOME)

I work with the printed draft until I am happy then I return to the electronic copy and add all those changes. Maybe it’s a longer process than most and I am trying to stick with all electronic editing, but for grammar issues the physical copy really works best for me.

Anyways, that’s how I work on editing a story, or poem. And for the record, I am a very bad girl and I do not really seriously edit or review my blog posts. These are all stream of consciousness.

What is your editing style or pattern? Any tips you’d like to share?



  1. Mik Said:

    I, too, love to edit, would love to be a professional editor, and spend a lot of time (maybe too much) editing my stuff.

    I write most of my first drafts on paper (how old fashioned is that?), so I get my first editing pass when I enter the handwritten stuff into the computer. I don’t read my stuff aloud, although I’m going to start using speech-to-text software to enter the handwritten draft into the word processor, so I guess that step will be incorporated into my editing soon. After I’ve got everything entered into the computer, I do as you do: I print out the manuscript and attack it with a colored pen (often red, but sometimes purple or some other interesting color) a couple of times, then enter all the changes.

    I even edit my blog posts. And my comments. 😉

  2. Draven Ames Said:

    I do all of the same things you do. Let me tell you, editing with paper… My neck is so messed up. It is very hard to transfer the edit from paper, back to the computer. I feel like I need a neck brace now.

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