The Magical World of Editing

Photo by Dan Dimmock on Unsplash

Here it is, the meat and potatoes: editing.

In today’s lesson, we’re going to take our cue from the infamous Ernest Hemingway!

First things first, when did you finish your first draft? Yesterday? Three days ago when you started this course? 

Before starting you start diving in to edit, I want to point out that you missed a step. And a quite important one!

A first draft is rarely ever ready for an edit. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not judging a book without even looking at the cover you haven’t illustrated yet! And to prove it, here are a few words from the writing god himself: 

“The only kind of writing is rewriting” – Ernest Hemingway

I know, I know, it’s tough to hear! You want me to do what? Rewrite the entire thing! You know that took me a year, right? But, sadly, yes. Nine times out of ten, after writing your first draft, the only thing your ready for is the second. So hop to it!

Once you’ve rewritten, and rewritten that manuscript, when you’ve cut out the superfluous material and refined it into a book your proud to show your family and friends.. it might be time to share it… with an professional editor.

In the next few paragraphs, I’m gonna fill you in on what an editor does, and the types:

Developmental Editor: They’re job would be to identify all the plot holes you didn’t catch. They focus on the overall structure and style in each word and sentence. Think of them as the “big picture” guy (or gal). Problematic characterization, patchy patching, plot holes, etc. thats a developmental’s jam!

Copy Editors: They’re the grammar police! They turn your bad grammar and spelling mistakes into beautiful, readable sentences. And on top of all that magic, they’ll even point out things like poorly constructed sentences and notable shifts in your tone. You’ll probably hate them! But they’ll help your book become something worth reading!

Proofreaders: They’re the people you call to tidy-up. They check for tiny errors like spelling and punctuation. They not only make sure that apostrophe makes it into the small space between the can and the ‘t’, but also make sure the “e” is before the “i” in receive. 

Now some of these hats, you might feel comfortable wearing yourself, and theirs nothing wrong with that. But if you take away anything from todays lesson, it should be that the price of a good proofreader will seem like pennies when you realize you use the wrong there — or is it their, or they’re?

Next, we move onto your Art Director’s beret!

Recommended Read:
Rewrite Right: Your Guide to Perfectly Polished Prose by Jan Venoila