Editing 101

So, for anyone who read my post last week, you’ll know I said that I find it best to not start editing as soon as you finish a project. Well today I’m going to talk about editing. More specifically, the first stage of editing that I like to do in my writing.

Now, there are many different stages to editing and you will probably edit and redraft at least two to three times before you’re really happy with what your work. There are also many different ways editing can be done. I find the method I use works pretty well for me and I discovered a lot of editing techniques by reading blogs. So I figured I would explain what I do.

The first thing I do, and probably the most obvious, is correct anything that is underlined in red or green. I hadn’t originally planned on including this in this post, but I figured with so many different programs out there to use (writing by hand, Microsoft, Scrivener), that I would include this anyone. It’s kind of like, Stage 0.5, instead of Stage One.

Stage One is the most basic editing that can be done: fixing spelling errors the computer might not have picked up on, like a character’s name; fixing missing or incorrect punctuation, correcting grammar mistakes, and just marking down anything else you might want to come back to.

Some people like to edit on their computer. Personally, I find it easier to print my work and edit on paper. It gives me a new perspective on it and allows me to really read what I wrote. The only issue with this is, of course, printing can cost money. Whether you have to print at the library, or a copy centre, or even your home, you have to buy ink and paper. I found that the best solution to this was to make your writing fit on as little pages as possible. I shrunk the font down to Size 8, doubled-spaced, and adjusted the margins so the writing was almost at the edge of the page. By doing this, I was able to fit 38,000+ words onto 39 pages.

Also in this stage, I only use red pen. I’m sure a lot of writers have that pen that they use when writing. A certain brand, a certain colour, a certain something that makes it different from all others pens they use. Well, when I’m in my first stage of editing, my red pen is that pen. By only using one colour, it allows you to know exactly what mistakes are on a certain page and what needs to be corrected rather than using one colour for everything or various colours for everything and then you just have a giant rainbow mess.

Now, I know this all sounds pretty simple and there are probably people reading this thinking, “Well yeah, I knew that.” But this is just Stage One and even as simple as it is, when you’re drawing little red marks all over your work, it suddenly looks pretty complicated.

I will be talking more in depth about my editing process in the New Year so if you liked this that one will be more explanatory and probably more complicated (sometimes I confuse myself when editing).


How do you edit? In different stages or all at once?


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