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.

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33
votes
6answers
1k 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?
27
votes
16answers
3k 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 ...
25
votes
9answers
644 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 ...
24
votes
4answers
440 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 ...
21
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
18
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
11answers
975 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?
15
votes
9answers
850 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 ...
15
votes
7answers
376 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
182 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 ...
13
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 ...
13
votes
2answers
867 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 ...
12
votes
8answers
410 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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?
11
votes
4answers
349 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
301 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 ...
11
votes
4answers
938 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
522 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
206 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
623 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 ...
10
votes
7answers
582 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
796 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
438 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 ...
9
votes
3answers
123 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
266 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
8
votes
6answers
817 views

What tools do you use for your writing journal?

I usually keep a notepad and pen with me at all times. So, if I'm out thinking about a story and a scene or a bit of dialogue comes to mind, I write it down for recall later. I also keep a list of ...
8
votes
5answers
158 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
125 views

What to do with my odd-length work?

I've just about finished up the first draft of a piece of work I've put a good deal of love into. It's genre fiction (paranormal/supernatural horror/urban fantasy/whatever they're calling it this ...
8
votes
3answers
265 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
1answer
604 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?
7
votes
4answers
396 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
514 views

Is the first draft of a novel usually shorter than the finished work?

I finished the first draft of a novel I'm writing. Right now, it has 17000 words. I've heard that novels these days range from 60,000 to 150,000 words, so I'm a little bit worried (I'm hoping to have ...
7
votes
2answers
147 views

How do I escape my own experience?

When writing academic text, you're often in the position of having to write introductory or explanatory material for your audience. Usually you write this kind of material after you've explored the ...
7
votes
1answer
587 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
213 views

2nd draft- rewrite from scratch?

I remember reading this somewhere, though I cannot remember the source: When working on the 2nd draft, read through the 1st draft, looking for holes. But then throw it away, and rewrite the the 2nd ...
7
votes
1answer
819 views

First-time meeting with publisher & editors (What to expect)

My fiancée is a first-time children's book author. What should she expect from her first meeting with the publisher and editors? Any advice? They've already seen some samples of her unpublished ...
7
votes
1answer
135 views

What is the standard editorial timeline for genre fiction novels?

I'm signed with a publisher working on my first genre fiction novel. The editor is driving me crazy not getting her work done and putting the rewrites on me at the last minute up against the ...
6
votes
8answers
861 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
107 views

When and how often edit the style and content of a story?

An early story I did I edited again and again to make it better. But in the end, I got the feeling the result was worse than before. Recently I tried to write (short-stories) in one go and only check ...
6
votes
3answers
370 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
98 views

Is there a resource where I could find myself a checker and critic, or check somebodies else text to exercise?

I need a checker and some kind of beta-test editor and critic. Is there a resource out in the web, where I can find myself one?
6
votes
2answers
124 views

What are First Drafts, Second Drafts, etc.?

I've been reading a few questions on this site, and I've seen the terms First, Second or Third Drafts. What does this refer to actually? And could someone give a clear detail of what they are, and why ...
6
votes
2answers
143 views

If I'm going to hire a copyeditor, do I need to do any proofing myself?

For my book I'm planning to self-pub, I aim to hire a copyeditor / proofreader at some point. The question is this: Should I do any proofreading myself, other than using a spell checker? Currently, ...
6
votes
2answers
255 views

Tips to identify “noise” or “clutter” in your story

I'm a fan of minimalism so I tend to write stories which are as simple as possible. And sometimes I add elements that don't have a concrete explanation. I leave that to interpretation of the reader. ...
6
votes
1answer
166 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
540 views

How Much Exposition is Too Much Exposition

I am in the process of figuring out how to write a mostly autobiographical piece (maybe, eventually, novel) about my experiences related to dancing (Swing, Blues, and a little Hip-Hop, in case you ...
5
votes
2answers
166 views

Techniques for lengthening or merging chapters

When I'm working on a novel, I have a tendency to write short chapters (1k-3k words). This is not a problem, per se, but I sometimes feel the need to have one or two longer chapters to slow down the ...