Thursday 2 February 2017

Editing Tips for Writers: The 3 Stages of Self-Editing

The 3 Stages of Self-Editing

Whether you are submitting your work to a publisher or releasing it yourself, editing your own story before it goes to a professional editor/proofreader will stand you in good stead. I believe three passes is the golden number, and here is how I approach each:

1) Structural Edit
I don’t plot heavily before writing, so this pass is mostly about checking for plot holes/inconsistencies and reviewing the pacing. I will look at language too, but this first edit is more about ensuring cohesion.

2) Copy Edit
By now the larger issues should be resolved, so during this stage I look carefully at the prose, tweaking for readability and comprehension and removing repeated words or grammar mistakes.

3) Proofreading
The final pass is a standard proofread to check for any remaining typos. At this stage I also ensure the formatting conforms to the publisher’s preferences if I already know to whom I plan to submit the work. (A good practice is to set up correct formatting right from the first draft, if you know that far in advance to whom you’ll send the book when it’s ready.)

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