Organization In Writing – Edits

Organization In Writing - Editing R.S. Mollison-Read

Continuing with my series, Organization In Writing, this week I’ll be discussing one of the most painful, but also rewarding aspects of the writing process – editing:

This is a personal process, and it may not work for every writer, but I find it best to edit my work after I’ve had some time away from it. Often, after I’ve written a first draft, I will take a break from writing altogether, for about a week, and then perhaps turn my attention to another project. I only return to the draft for editing when I feel I can bring ‘fresh eyes’ to the work.

Multiple Edits:
This may seem self evident, but you would not believe how many people think you only need to edit once. And to be clear, these are the edits you as a writer do, before you pass your work on to an actual editor. I try for at least three rounds of editing myself, before I sent it off to my editor.

Ideally, your writing should be edited by at least two different editors, though there are several different kinds of editing. I like to use both a substantive editor, and a copyeditor. A substantive editor deals with aspects of your storytelling – looking for inconsistencies, weaknesses in character development, and plot holes, while a copy editor deals with typos, punctuation and sentence structure.

I like to review each round of edits, and compare them to the previous iteration of my writing. Just before I release a novel, I like to go back and look at the finished product and compare it to my first draft. I find it very rewarding to see how far my story has come.

How do you organize your editing process? Tell me in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Organization In Writing – Edits

  1. Thanks for the terminology! Before this post I didn’t the term “substantive editor” existed. What’s too much when it comes to substantive editing? Is there a line we should draw?

    • Yes! I too was intrigued to learn just how many different kinds of editing there are! It can definitely be a little disheartening to get your manuscript back with red marks all over the place from a round of substantive editing (or red text from in-line editing in Word, which I recently moved to), but I’ve been finding that the more time I spend editing my own work, before sending it off for editing, the more I can find inconsistencies, or plot holes myself. The best part of a substantive editor is that they often have suggestions for how to fix the errors they’ve found. Ultimately, this can be a hard line to walk, since, as self-publishers, we have the final say. I find that I take and improve on almost all of the suggestions my editor makes. After all, if she is finding plot holes and inconsistencies, won’t my readers find them as well?

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