• Member Since 30th Jan, 2013
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Viking ZX


Author of Science-Fiction and Fantasy novels! Oh, and some fanfiction from time to time.

More Blog Posts1213

Mar
21st
2016

Being a Better Writer: The Process of Editing · 9:38pm Mar 21st, 2016

Editing is a curious thing. Almost everyone agrees that it’s something a written work needs to have. But by the same token, it’s one thing that I’ve noticed that, in my time as an author, many people don’t actually agree upon or know much about what it entails. The most accurate consensus I could assemble from what I’ve read and heard from casual writers (not dedicated authors) or the average layperson is that editing is about making a written work better. It’s about fixing the mistakes.

Now, that doesn’t sound bad at all. But here’s the thing: What do people mean when they say “fixing the mistakes?” And that’s where the root of today’s topic comes from.

See, you’d be hard pressed to find a reader of books somewhere that wouldn’t make a case that editing is something a manuscript needs. But if you ask them what goes into editing, you’ll get something like “Well, you know, fixing errors and stuff.”

Yes. “And stuff.” While that’s an answer that makes sense and technically is accurate, it really doesn’t give the discerning writer much to go off of. After all, there can be a lot of errors in “stuff.” And this vagueness in turn makes it difficult for new writers, first-timers pushing out their skills to try and get their first manuscript together, to understand what they need to do to fix errors, or even what those are. It’s a bit like asking someone to fix a car and then, when asked what’s wrong with it, giving the answer “stuff.” Not only is it not helpful, but those who have worked on cars (or really, done any big tune-up project) know from experience that there are some things that matter more than others, or need to be done in a certain order.

Read the rest of this post at Unusual Things! Yes, I know the whole post is usually here, but I goofed and don't feel like reformatting the entire thing here.

Comments ( 4 )

Would like to get more editing experience under my belt, but some of the things I have encountered have soured the thing for a bit.
Specifically, I was invited to do editing for a story here, and so when I tried to criticize odd plot elements that stuck out and should at least extend some research on how modern-day military would react in a scenario, instead of just the usual spellcheck elements, I got a reply along the lines of "I am writing this for fun" and "the other editors did not find any problem with that". That kind of frustrated me, so I politely requested to leave the team. Still like the premise of the story, but believed that the execution was flawed.
Editing your stories was fun, by the way.

Now a question. What happens if there is a dispute between the writer and editor on a plot point, or between editors? Does the writer go with their gut? Do they side with the majority of editors?

Would like to get more editing experience under my belt, but some of the things I have encountered have soured the thing for a bit.
Specifically, I was invited to do editing for a story here, and so when I tried to criticize odd plot elements that stuck out and should at least extend some research on how modern-day military would react in a scenario, instead of just the usual spellcheck elements, I got a reply along the lines of "I am writing this for fun" and "the other editors did not find any problem with that". That kind of frustrated me, so I politely requested to leave the team. Still like the premise of the story, but believed that the execution was flawed.

This is actually a similar reason to why I was soured on writing groups. Had a group with a similar thing, where a guy would write all sorts of stuff without research and then get really irate when it was pointed out it didn't make logical sense in any form.

Obviously there's a line between hard and "for fun." Personally, the best way to help with editing for someone is to find someone who's writing you like and volunteer your services, rather than looking for random people who are asking for "advice" without realizing they really mean "reinforcement" or don't understand the point of Alphas.

Now a question. What happens if there is a dispute between the writer and editor on a plot point, or between editors? Does the writer go with their gut? Do they side with the majority of editors?

Usually a discussion happens. Points are brought up, and both parties try to find the best solution between what the author wants to convey and what the audience is reading.

Sometimes they don’t see that your deliberately breaking a rule for a specific effect

I see what you did there.

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Dang it. That one slipped through, but at least it was in the best possible place.

I seem to make a lot more of those type of errors (their, they're, your, you're, etc) when I'm running low on sleep. Interesting.

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