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How do you edit?

October 16, 2008

We all have our own routines for revising our WIPs. Some prefer the line-by-line method. Others prefer to read it aloud and make necessary corrections. No matter what it is vital to train ourselves to edit/proof properly. Below are some methods to put to practice.

Line-by-Line – this method requires you to examine each individual sentence for errors, sentence structure, etc.

Working with a Partner – some prefer to do this online than in real life.  Working with a partner allows someone, writer or not, with a fresh pair of eyes to catch mistakes you may have missed.

Reading Aloud – reading your text aloud allows you to discover which sentences are crisp and concise versus the ones needing extra attention. This doesn’t require you to read to someone but can be helpful if you did.

Backwards – this method is for proofing purposes only. By reading the document from the end to beginning, you are able to not concentrate on the content and put your focus on spelling errors.It’s never good to  rely on spell check

Combination of the above techniques along with a checklist, should help with your revising abilities. How do you edit?

2 Comments
  1. October 16, 2008 10:24 am

    For me, I’ll use a partner for most types of writing (except poetry).

    Aside from a writing/editing partner, it depends on the type of writing.
    For scripts, reading aloud is by far my most common editing method, because the whole purpose of the script is to be read aloud.

    For prose (novels or short stories), I’ll go line-by-line, one chapter or section at a time. I’ve done the backwards reading a few times and that was mostly to verify that I didn’t contradict myself in the story line — reading it backwards puts a very different spin on the story and makes logical errors jump out.

    For poetry, I will read it aloud or sing it or tap it out syllable by syllable, depending on the format of the poem or song (rhyme scheme, line-lengths, etc.)

    For non-fiction, I use line-by-line review but mostly it is partner-review efforts.

  2. October 16, 2008 12:01 pm

    A, B, and C. For the latest draft of my novel, I printed out two copies. I would read through one copy line by line, a section at a time. Then I would read the same section out loud, seeing if I stumbled at any points, noting any errors or difficult phrases in the margin.

    The second copy, I gave to my mum and she read through, noting errors in the margin.

    Then I went through both copies together, correcting mistakes on the version on my computer. It was worrying how many mistakes I spotted that she didn’t and vice versa. I had to wonder how many mistakes were still in there that neither of us spotted.

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