Tips for Tackling Editing

Last week we talked about revising, which deals with major tweaks to make your rough draft less rough. This includes plot changes, rearranging segments, and filling in holes. But what comes next after revision? Editing. Editing deals with the line-by-line concerns, perfecting your draft by fixing grammar and choosing the perfect words to phrase each sentence. It’s all about polishing your manuscript and getting it ready to share with the world. So let’s look at some tips for editing.

Take a break first

  • Let your manuscript sit at least two weeks before you start. Like with revising, it helps you to look at your manuscript with fresh eyes, which means catching more mistakes and words that don’t work.

Print it

  • It’s much easier to edit the page than it is to edit the screen. It allows for a closer read through and you’ll catch more mistakes this way. It also alleviates eye strain. Give it a try.

Read backwards

  • This is a great way to catch typos and wrong words lurking in your manuscript. It also helps you to focus on each word. Read through this way at least once.

Vary your sentence structure and complexity

  • You don’t want your manuscript to read monotonously. Now is the time to look at it line-by-line. Variety is a good thing. Just make sure you don’t overcomplicate every sentence. It’s about balance.

Make several passes before calling it done

  • You want to make sure to catch every mistake so multiple read throughs are necessary. You can also edit in passes if it helps you to focus. You can edit first for spelling mistakes, then for grammar, then for adverbs, etc.

Editing may not be your favorite part of the writing process, but it is an important part. What tips do you have for editing? Share below and happy editing!

Julia

Follow my column at Our Write Side and my Twitter for more writing tips and inspiration. Find me on Facebook for weekly prompts.

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