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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.

58
votes
12answers
18k views

What's the least distracting method to inform editors I'm a woman?

I have a gender-neutral name, so people often assume I'm a man. However, a portion of the writing I do is for tech companies. Because of the lack of diversity in the tech industry, many of these ...
46
votes
10answers
13k views

I wrote a novel, now what?

I'm new here, so, please, bear with me. I had a look at previous answers to similar questions, but my case is (possibly) a bit different. I am not a professional writer, so I wrote this (long) novel ...
42
votes
8answers
3k views

I have written my first novel and I think it's ready. What next?

I've completed my first novel and done as much editing as I think I can as the author. What should I do next in order to get this out there?
39
votes
5answers
973 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 ...
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 ...
33
votes
5answers
8k views

Do I have any control over the grammar of my novel?

English grammar is generally pretty black and white, but there are a few areas under debate. For instance, should a series of three have one or two commas? For example: The coach was black, dusty, ...
32
votes
9answers
958 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 ...
30
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 ...
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 ...
25
votes
6answers
7k views

When my story has a powerful phrase but that loses its power when I read it again in the next day, should I keep it or remove it?

Sometimes I have a great idea of sentence (usually for a dialogue) and it is just so nice, beautiful, epic, badass, powerful, or whatever other positive impression. However, sometimes I read it again ...
23
votes
7answers
3k views

Finding before/after examples where writing has been improved, to learn from

I'd like to see a series of example paragraphs, showing before/after a rewrite, to give me specific examples of how writing can be improved. Is there anywhere that shows such things? I once read the ...
21
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
21
votes
7answers
493 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 ...
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?
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 ...
20
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
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 ...
19
votes
5answers
3k views

Do editors rewrite?

I write fiction, I guess you could say experimental fiction, but I just feel I am more of a stylist. Every story of mine that's been accepted was taken as is. Now, for the first time, I am dealing ...
19
votes
5answers
2k views

The psychology of finishing a piece of fiction

I have a psychological oddity when it comes to my own writing (particularly fiction, and particularly longer work). Obviously it may just be a personal problem, but perhaps other people have similar ...
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Scrivener involved in the editorial process, or is it strictly a writer's development tool?

Is there any reason that an editor should know how to use Scrivener? I generally see manuscripts after they're out of draft but before proofreading. (I'm an editor.) However, I see a lot of talk ...
18
votes
2answers
408 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 ...
17
votes
9answers
8k views

Is it possible for an author to release a novel every week using dictation technology?

I have heard that authors can do 5000 words an hour with dictation. For a six-hour day writing, that is 30,000 words. Thus it would take less than three days to complete a standard novel manuscript. ...
17
votes
7answers
4k views

How to survive editing

I am currently trying to edit a one my most recent novel. Trying is the keyword. I asked a few people to read my book as beta readers, but all of them have been busy, so no progress on that front. I ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Eliminating the Dash in Prose Writing

I have been accused — shock, horror — of using the dash (the one that indicates a three-quarters pause) too much in my fiction. Thing is — I quite like the effect (the space inserted in sentences by ...
16
votes
8answers
828 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
307 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 ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How do I know when my work is ready for critique?

I run a critiquing group once a month and I've had several of my members say they aren't sure how to tell when their work is ready for critique. I'll be covering this in a workshop tomorrow night, but ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

What needs to be included in a corporate style guide?

What kinds of things need to be included in a corporate style guide that can't already be found in S&W, AP, Chicago Style, etc?
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Can I, as a reader, submit a “Bug Report” for a novel?

I just finished a new release. I encountered a passage in the book that doesn't quite make sense. Just a single sentence that is out of place. Grammatically it is fine, but in context it doesn't seem ...
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 ...
13
votes
5answers
881 views

Editing tools on the go

I've just started editing my novel. For the drafting I had done most of the work on a phone, as I wanted to make the most of the daily commute. This worked well enough and the first rough draft is ...
13
votes
3answers
444 views

At what point does an author deal with an editor?

I'm just wondering: at which point do you have to deal with the editor, and what are the (possible) consequences? That is, when is the editor's involvement greatest? After or before a deal? I'd ...
13
votes
5answers
736 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What's the proper etiquette/format for updating a blog post?

I've been doing websites for 16 years, but am new to writing a blog. Websites pages change all the time, but it seems to me that blog posts are relatively static once they've been posted. If I want ...
12
votes
4answers
524 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 ...
12
votes
4answers
556 views

When writing on paper, how do you move things about?

I am amazed thinking how people used to write before the computer ever came about. Before that, everyone was forced to write on paper. I'd very much like to write on paper but my ideas come in a ...
12
votes
4answers
740 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

Strategies for shortening texts

When reviewing a text to shorten it beneath a fixed, externally imposed word limit, which strategies are available for shortening the text? What kind of shortening can be expected? The most obvious ...
12
votes
1answer
879 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Is it a bad idea to write and edit chapter by chapter?

I am beginning to write original novels after writing fanfictions and posting them online for about six years. My usual process is: write chapter, edit chapter, post chapter, repeat. This means that ...
11
votes
4answers
207 views

How can I distance myself from an article published under my name, with edits I disagree with?

I wrote an article for a university newspaper that summarizes incidents involving racism on campus. After edits, the sentence structure became uniformly long instead of varied, straightforward ...
11
votes
6answers
289 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
173 views

How does one go *back* to editing an older piece?

I have a longer work that took me a lot of effort to get through, and the moment I finished it, my life went crazy. That was about 6 months ago, and in the intervening time I haven't been able to ...
11
votes
1answer
336 views

UK vs. US editions of fiction

I am reading a novel the copy of which was bought and published in the US, but the novel was written and copyrighted by a British author and first published in the UK.* Apart from the apparent ...
10
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 ...
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
1k views

A handful of gems

So I'm facing an issue after many years of writing, and several unsuccessful novels. In my own estimation, all my books contain a "handful of gems" --wonderful scenes that really come to life. But ...
10
votes
2answers
518 views

Are online critique groups a good substitute for editors?

I'm thinking of self publishing. Now what all the blogs tell me I have to do is hire a professional editor, who will see any plot / character holes, other story problems etc. (For the moment, I'm not ...