A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit. – Richard Bach
Today is the last part in my writer’s series, and perhaps the most dreaded—Editing.
For many writers, editing is the most overwhelming part of the process. Throughout the early first draft, we’re running mostly on creativity and fresh inspiration. The process is new, and oftentimes, we can’t wait to get our ideas down on the page. We can see it all in our minds like a movie, and we celebrate when we make it to the end of our story.
Editing, on the other hand, is different. It’s left brain. It’s practical. It means changing material that sounded really good a couple of days ago. It means reading your work through the eyes of a critic. And most writers don’t enjoy it nearly as much as the initial creative process. In fact, editing can make you feel a little like these memes bellow.
And, at times, we may even feel a little like this guy.
(As a new Dawson’s Creek fan, you had to know this would make its way into one of my posts eventually.😜)
Nonetheless, as stressful as editing can be, it is an absolutely essential part of the writing process. As good as our stories are, they’re never finished at the rough draft. Writing is a journey. And, like every journey, it takes hard work and dedication to make our stories the best that they can be.
According to thebookdesigner.com, there are four different types of editing: Big Picture Editing, Paragraph Level Editing, Sentence Level editing, and Word Level Editing.
Big Picture Editing means taking a look at your writing from a bird’s eye view. It means looking at your story and making sure that structurally, everything makes sense. There are no plot holes. There’s nothing that sounds, weird, or off, or incoherent. Hopefully, most of the big-picture of the book was structured carefully before and during the writing process, but if you have noticeable errors, they can still be fixed as you edit your manuscript. Remember—that’s the whole point of editing. To make your draft as good as possible before sending it to a publishing house (or, pursuing the route of self publishing).
Paragraph Level Editing is a little different. Like Big Picture Editing, it is largely about structure, but this type of editing involves changing sentence and paragraph structure to make the content easier to read and more coherent to the reader. This could mean clarifying sentences, adding detail, cutting fluff, and giving the book an overall “feel” or “tone”.
Sentence Level Editing, on the other hand, is more about mechanics. It’s where we get down to the nitty-gritty of our prose, and fix grammar mistakes and minor details that may have been lost in a sea of words. For instance, is the character’s last name “Jones” in one sentence and “Smith” in another? Does the protagonist’s best friend remain a brunette throughout the story? It sounds silly, but these kind of details can be easy to miss in a three-hundred page novel. It is important, for the reader’s sake, that all of this is addressed before the book is released into the hands of the world.
Last but not least, we have Word Level Editing, which is arguably the easiest and most basic kind of editing. This kind of writing addresses things such as spelling, typos, and punctuation. It is the kind of editing that many of us are familiar with from our days in elementary school, when we learned the basics of English and took standardized tests where we filled-in-the-bubble-for-the-correct-word.
I hope that these last four parts have been helpful and enjoyable to read for you guys! Admittedly, I’m still an amateur myself, but my prayer is that we can all learn, grow, and encourage each other on our journey to becoming better writers.
Writing has always been my passion and I know that I personally have loved delving deep into the world of fiction writing on my blog!
If you have any comments, please feel free to post them in the comments section! I always love hearing from you guys!