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Questions tagged [editing]

Editing is the act of improving a piece of writing. Questions with this tag should focus on specific editing techniques or ways to improve editing skills. If you are submitting a piece for critique, use the "critique" tag instead.

20
votes
4answers
1k views

Where is a good place to find beta readers?

Beta readers are important to perfecting a novel/novella/short story. They give you a fresh set of eyes, offer opinions, and can be a great moral boost. But where can you find good beta readers? Are ...
12
votes
1answer
898 views

How do I find an affordable editor?

I wrote a few chapters of a book several years ago. How do I find an affordable editor?
11
votes
6answers
2k views

When should a chapter end?

When writing a novel, when should I end a chapter? Note that I'm not talking about chapter word-count (that topic was discussed here). I'm interested to know when should I end my chapters ...
37
votes
21answers
5k views

How can I catch more errors when I proofread?

I have a problem where I often proof my own writing and I don't catch all the errors while I am reading through it. I often miss entire words out of sentences or find myself repeating words. I can ...
5
votes
3answers
205 views

Do I write the entire series and edit, or edit the books as I go?

Background Woohoo! The time has come, my first book of a trilogy is one chapter away from finishing. I've done a little editing as I go, clearing up the bad chapters, but haven't properly gone ...
7
votes
6answers
3k views

Write to the finish, or edit as you go?

Someone asked this question in another forum, and I thought I'd bounce it around in here to see what kind of responses we get. If you are working on writing a new book, is it better to just write all ...
19
votes
2answers
2k views

How should a writer use version control to track drafts, rewrites, and revisions?

I'm a writer, not a programmer. I'm just now for the first time learning about version control and how it works, and I am wondering how version control could streamline my workflow. In a previous ...
40
votes
5answers
1k views

Editors: Edit on first read, or read and edit on second round?

I edit novels (among other works). I was having a discussion with someone (not an editor) who didn't understand my technique. What I do is read through the document, and the moment something occurs ...
12
votes
4answers
792 views

How do I successfully structure a long fiction piece?

I’ve ‘completed’ three novels – a thriller, a coming-of-age story, and a mystery. I’ve had expert readers for all three including Sue Grafton who read two of them. All the expert readers have the same ...
21
votes
6answers
508 views

When editing for a person, how much can be changed?

The context is a technical document that is written by one person and then sent out for review by others. The reviewers change word tense, change from active to passive voice, and make other style ...
21
votes
5answers
19k views

Submitting a novel for publication: do editors still expect Courier font?

About ten years ago an agent told me not to submit manuscripts in fonts other than Courier (or Courier New) and to double-space lines. He said editors were prejudiced against manuscripts that looked ...
16
votes
3answers
320 views

How do you avoid the problem of a collaborative work having separate voices?

I've not done collaborative writing before, but I've read several works, and sometimes the text strikes me as having a split personality: some parts were clearly written by one author, while others ...
8
votes
5answers
595 views

How to minimize language mistakes while writing

While it's true that: Editors do proof reading for you, and word processors have spell checking and grammar checking you do not always have an editor available, and software tools aren't perfect ("...
6
votes
1answer
293 views

How much humour can you afford to have before losing a serious atmosphere?

Background When I first tried writing fantasy - a long long time ago - I wrote a book that was meant to be really serious and intense. However, I wrote it in a way where the characters joked around, ...
12
votes
4answers
543 views

2nd Draft- Fix spelling/grammar or plot first?

I just finished the first draft of my novel, and Im going to put it away for at least a month. The book has a lot of spelling / grammatical errors, as in true Nanowrimo style, I kept typing without ...
21
votes
5answers
8k views

emacs for creative writing

Does anyone know a good emacs configuration for creative writing? I'd be looking for the ability to write, edit, and export to libre office or word (so the less technical people get edit/view). I'm ...
20
votes
12answers
2k views

Which techniques can I use to become a better editor when editing my own writing?

I'm looking to improve my ability to edit and correct my own writing. What are some techniques I can use to help me with this?
34
votes
9answers
986 views

Self Editing tips/tricks

I write a daily piece and have been doing so for over 8 years. I think my writing has gotten better, but I still find mistakes at times, or more likely, my readers find mistakes. Does anyone have ...
20
votes
9answers
2k views

What methods can I use to revise my writing?

Background I am finding it challenging to transform an early draft into a finished product. My biggest challenges are putting the prose in the proper order and using topic sentences and transitions ...
28
votes
9answers
4k views

So I finished my novel. Now what do I do?

A few days ago I finished the first draft of my current novel project after a few months of work, finishing at 83,212 words. Now what should I do with it? So obviously I need to edit it. Should I ...
15
votes
9answers
2k views

Text Editors. Suggesting & Tracking Changes to Plain-Text Documents

Many word processors are capable to tracking and displaying changes made to a document. Those changes are typically displayed in special markup supported by the editor. E.g. But when using a plain ...
8
votes
1answer
265 views

What are tips / techniques to manage the consistency of a plot encompassing several subplots ?

When I lay out a plot consisting of interwoven threads, one of the most annoying things is to manage effectively the factual, logical consistency of the whole. In order to be more effective and ...
35
votes
7answers
4k views

Why does an author need an editor?

I'm firmly in the camp of "your novel needs an editor, and that editor better not be yourself." But recently I was asked why that was, and I couldn't articulate an answer that was passable. Young ...
16
votes
8answers
870 views

How much leeway can be expected from an editor regarding my preference for nonstandard punctuation?

As I hope to present a unique style to the world, as I am not especially tolerant of being told I'm doing things "wrong" when that's a subjective statement related to writing style, and as I've never ...
13
votes
5answers
865 views

How to stay motivated while rewriting?

This related question made me think. I love writing. I am never bored. I never have writer's block. I just enjoy exploring my imagination and following the unexpected turns of my creativity. It is one ...
8
votes
7answers
3k views

Is it better to save each chapter in a separate word document or all in one document?

I'm new here. In the past, I've written countless articles for newspapers, and I almost never needed to edit more than a page or two. However, I have agreed to edit an entire (existing) novel for its ...
7
votes
3answers
479 views

How do I start editing my novel?

I had written the first draft of my book and put it in the freezer almost 6 weeks ago. Yesterday I took it out, and after going through a first read to note my reactions, I have decided to start work ...
9
votes
2answers
132 views

Where do I go looking for an editor?

I have several completed short stories, and I'm considering having them line-edited before I submit them. But I have no idea where to look for editors. How do I know who's any good? Where do I look, ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I change a novel from first person to limited third person?

For various reasons (increased clarity, and an interested agent), I'm rewriting what was once two first-person POVs into a third person limited POV. Other answers have previously established the ...
3
votes
4answers
3k views

Software recommendations for magazine layout?

I use Word now but I would like to find a better software for laying out a magazine. In this magazine, I would like to create columns (2 or 3 depending on the page), insert image on 1, 2 or 3 columns ...
18
votes
2answers
419 views

What exactly is an editor?

I recently read the assertion that many great works of fiction were chiefly down the contribution of a good editor. I must admit I was a little taken aback by this statement. I had never really ...
11
votes
6answers
295 views

How can I edit my own, very old work?

I have about a hundred pages of a novel I wrote in high school, I like the concept behind the writing but I'm finding it extremely difficult to go back and read/edit it again. I last edited the ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Rewriting a scifi story to fit with actual science, should I do it as I go?

Rewriting a scifi story to fit with actual science, should I do it as I go, or just write first and make the needed changes while editing? My world exists in my mind, clear and palpable. but I am ...
8
votes
6answers
1k views

Superpowers in Writing - Cool for the sake of cool

I originally started planning/writing a short story that was more or less based on a few popular trends in YA/Sci-Fi writing (interstellar travel, superpowers, etc) just as an exercise to force myself ...
8
votes
4answers
709 views

Publishing fiction: when do I start looking for an agent?

I am just about finished with the first draft of a novel I've been working on. I've been writing novels for about ten years and I've self-published a couple, but I'm looking to peek into the world of "...
7
votes
4answers
905 views

How to make a dark story not-so-dark (Shining the light in darkness)

I'm writing a war story, and it's dark. However, I find that every scene turns out to be depressing because of it. Readers will be overwhelmed. Are there ways I can induce hope/shine the light in the ...
6
votes
1answer
906 views

Word Clouds and Phrase Clouds

I'm familiar with word clouds (or tag clouds) as used on blogs or on sites like Delicious. It seems to me that a tool similar to that could be of use to writers like me, who don't have an editor, when ...
5
votes
4answers
450 views

Where would I find a Critique Partner or Group?

Programmers often collaborate over code by using pastebin. They drop sections of code for others to read and assist in improving or removing errors. Does anyone know if a similar app exists for ...
5
votes
3answers
5k views

Referencing real and fictional people/characters in novels - legal implications

I've been going out of my way to avoid referencing famous people in my novel as well as fictional characters, but I keep seeing pop culture references in other books I read as well as in TV shows, ...
2
votes
3answers
287 views

Critique: Make excerpt more visual/flow better

I have this excerpt I'm not sure is fluid and visual enough: Peter came out of the café rubbing his tummy. The chipmunk had a smile on the face and seemed content. Not too far behind him was ...
1
vote
2answers
170 views

Style when intentionally misspelling?

I am copyediting and doing layout on a play that includes a few plays on words and intentional misspellings. At first glance they read like typos. I am wondering if the convention is that I should be ...
10
votes
8answers
1k views

Correct spelling errors while writing or after you've finished?

With the "write, don't edit" rule in mind, how should one handle mistyping? I usually stop or go back to fix the error as soon as I spot it, but often I feel this breaks the flow of writing. Should ...
9
votes
3answers
505 views

I'm an editor who generally uses Word to communicate changes with my authors. Is Adobe's InCopy better for this task?

For all of my editing work I'm currently using Microsoft Word. But I've heard a bit about Adobe's InCopy being good for editing and publishing. Is it really better? What makes it better than Word?
8
votes
9answers
14k views

Adding breaks in a novel—spaces, asterisks, or a chapter break?

I am editing my first novel and wherever I find a natural break in the story, I add a few spaces. I want to go back and adjust what types of breaks those are, but how best to represent those spaces in ...
6
votes
5answers
436 views

How do I get rid of the tic of paired adjectives, predicates, etc.?

In technical writing, I have a tic of writing in pairs. Some examples from a recent piece: "When you speak, be sure to be clear and concise." "Face to face conversation is personal and private." "...
5
votes
7answers
3k views

How many errors should I expect from a proofreader?

I hired a proofreader (typos, commonly confused words, minor grammar issues etc) to look at my work, which I plan to self publish. She found most typos, but from a 66,000 word novel, missed about 10. ...
5
votes
2answers
235 views

Where to find beta readers? [duplicate]

Since I left my writer's group out of personality issues, invariably somebody becomes a know-it-all, it's been a real struggle to find people willing to invest time. The friends/acquaintances I have ...
5
votes
5answers
188 views

Knowing when to disobey the advice of grammar software

When writing I try to be my own editor in order to improve the quality of what I write. When I feel happy I use Hemingway to further tighten up what I have written. Normally I aim for having a score ...
5
votes
4answers
203 views

Is it possible to read your own words too much? (and begin to hate them as a result)

I'm working through my chapter 1 for about the 5th time. As a generality, I love my story and characters, all of them, even the psychotic ones. But, it is becoming more and more of a slog to make ...
4
votes
2answers
322 views

Do we need a gap of time between drafts?

Stephen King, in his book 'On writing' (and other writers), says one should put some gap of time between drafts. So for example, wait a month after finishing the 1st draft, before starting work on the ...