Friday Five – Editing Tips

Very sleepy…

If you read my post yesterday, you may have figured out that the words just aren’t coming at the moment. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that I’m just really tired. So much is going on at the moment that I’m just feeling really flat. As usual when this happens, not much writing gets done. I haven’t been able to think of a topic for this weeks Friday Five, so instead, here are five tips about editing (which is something you should NEVER attempt when you’re tired).

  1. Sharp Pencil – whenever I’m editing, I print out a copy of my manuscript, get a sharp grey lead pencil, and write all over it. A sharp pencil seems to work much better than a blunt one, so I always need to have a sharpener handy, but can never find it when I need it!
  2. Read out loud – another thing that helps is to read the manuscript out loud. My kids think I’m a little bit nuts when I do this, but they generally enjoy the story, even if I stop & start all the time to edit with a (preferably) sharp pencil.
  3. Know what you want – I find this is helpful when someone else has edited the story. Are there parts of the story that are a deal breaker, or can it really be changed? This relates more to whether or not it’s a manuscript assessment rather than an edit for spelling and grammar.
  4. Let it rest – between writing a story and editing, or even between rounds of edits, let it rest for a while. This way, you come back to it fresh and are more likely to pick up on things that need changing rather than seeing mistakes that aren’t there.
  5. Let yourself rest – take it from my experiences – don’t edit when you’re exhausted. You never know what sort of damage you may inflict on your poor manuscript. Better to get a good night sleep first!

These are rough, but I hope they’re still useful. I think I’ll try and get a Nanna Nap in before school pick up…

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  1. Sakuntala Gananathan says:

    I don’t have a printer and so I set aside the original I am working on in my laptop, after saving a dated copy to do the editing. I make the changes in bold letters so it’s easy to decide which phrases or sentences to opt for. On nearing completion of the story I am left with numerous versions with certain passages deleted or added. Finally when I am left with two good versions I do track changes using the compare facility.

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