Monday, April 17, 2017

Layers of Editing

Every book, short story, or article that is written goes through levels of editing. 

First there are the layers you as a writer do to your work.
*Adding description and emotion.
*Checking pacing and realistic dialogue.
*Then the all important grammar and flow. 

After you’ve added all the sparkle you think is necessary, the story should/needs to go to one or two critique partners or beta readers. If they are good, someone who doesn't just say they love what you did, they will have more for you to rethink or make clearer that has to do with the big picture or character development.

Once your story has gone through your sparkle, your cp or beta reader, if you're sending to an agent or editor to read, you send it off. 

Agent or Editor Submissions:
You sent the story to an editor or agent. The call comes! They want your story. If it’s an agent who is very hands-on he/she may have some ideas for the story that will help them sell it to a publisher. Depending on how strong you feel about your story take those suggestions into consideration, after all, they’ve been in the business longer than you have. If an editor buys your story it has more edits to go through. The attitude you take while it goes through the edits could be the difference between you getting more contracts with that publisher.
The editor will read through your work and perhaps have some ideas to add to the story or ways to punch up the plot, emotion, or characters. Some may resonate with you and others may not. Don’t jump on the suggestions or decline them until you’ve had time to think about the editor’s suggestions. If you see how they enhance the story work on the changes. If you’re unsure, open up a calm dialogue with the editor discussing his/her reasoning and your reluctance. Remember the editor is working to make your story a best seller, so listen with an open mind.

Once the editor has the finished project the line edits may begin or they could have been in the major edits the editor asked for. Every house and editor does things differently. Again, keep an open mind, especially if your “style” isn’t conventional. You may have to again go to bat for your sentence structure to keep your “voice”. But don’t get snotty or obstinate. State your reasoning and work with the editor. 

The same goes for copy editing. They are the last round of edits, and they make sure the commas, colons, and hyphens are correct as well as spelling and sentence structure. Here again, you may have to work with them if your style is unconventional. Remain calm and discuss the reasons for the unusual style or concede here and there to allow them to make it clearer for the reader. 


If you are self-publishing, after you add in your CP or beta reader's comments and suggestions(again it is your book, make sure the suggestions enhance the story) the manuscript, short story, or article needs to go through a freelance editor or another person who you trust with editing. When that comes back, you again look it over, make sure their edits make senses. Read it through one more time and then send it to a  copy or line editor. This is a person who knows grammar and punctuation.When it comes back from this person, again, go over it one more time after adding their suggestions. 

No matter how many eyes look at a story there is always something that gets missed. 

The thing to remember with all editing processes from your critique partners to the editors and copy editors everyone is on your team and trying to make your story the best it can be. Don’t be a  diva and go at edits with the attitude your writing is perfect and you don’t require help. No one writes perfectly and having people with experience and expertise look at your work can only make it better.

Happy Writing! 


Diana McCollum said...

Boy, great blog post! It is so important to make the best product available for the reader. Really enjoyed this post.

Paty Jager said...

Thanks, Diana!

Trish Wilkinson said...

This is a very helpful post, Paty. I'll offer to send your link to the list of participants at the May 18 Central Oregon Writers' Guild meeting. Denice and I are speaking on the editors' panel.