Monday, March 28, 2016

Is Editing Fun?




 
"So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, 

is making a chore for the reader who reads."

Dr. Seuss


How do you feel about editing? Love it or hate it, it's part of the package. Even if you hire an editor to help polish your work, you can't avoid it on some level.

In last week's interview, author Rachelle Rea said, "Editing is such fun!" Her happy statement made me stop and think, Do I like editing?

Guess what? After tossing it around, I came to the conclusion that yes, I do like editing. Mostly, anyway. There's something about setting things to rights and polishing words that brings great satisfaction.

Editing can have its down side too, like when I'm pushing to meet a deadline, or overwhelmed by the direction to take, or by the enormity of a project. But even then, there's gratification - attaining and savoring the finish line.

What checkpoints are you mindful of when editing? Perhaps they are similar to mine.

  • Check for grammar/spelling errors, consulting sources like Strunk and White's “The Elements of Style” as necessary. 
  •  Check content for excess words/phrases/sections that stray from the point or just don't fit. 
  • Aim for content that makes sense, progresses logically, and provides a satisfying reading experience. This includes a good balance of descriptive words/sentence variety, and a healthy dose of class and common sense. 
  • In addition to reviewing content on screen and paper, read it aloud. The ear is an excellent editor; it helps improve flow by catching rough or confusing spots.

While simple and often done without conscious thought, these points aid the process, polishing words for all to see. After all, writing that shines won't be "a chore for the reader who reads."

Thanks to everyone who stopped by this month to help celebrate my blogoversary. You are a blessing and I appreciate you all! :)

Do you like editing? What helps you better navigate the process? Do you agree with Dr, Seuss?

Happy writing,

Karen 
  


Photo credit: Free Images


29 comments :

  1. Hi Karen - I like writing ... and should do more editing ... before I post. I can definitely see the advantage of liking editing - it means you've achieved a major mile post ... and then it's onwards and upwards to publishing ... take care and see you around - Hilary

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  2. So agree with Dr. Seuss quote and I am very guilty of it too. I LOVE editing way more than writing on a blank page--probably because I had so much editing to cut my too-wordy manuscript.

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  3. I enjoy editing a lot more than the first draft. Once I have a story on paper, I can do something with it.

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  4. Hilary,
    I think liking it is a big part of making the process easier, but that doesn't mean it's everyone's thing, you know? You're right, it does move you onward and upward, that's for sure! :)

    Natalie,
    I know, his quote is so right for so many reasons! :) I'm with you, as much as I like to write, the editing often seems easier than wrestling to get ideas down when they seem slow in coming.

    Alex,
    I hear you; it is easier when you have something to work with. I'm always reminding my teen students of this. Get something down and go from there! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  5. Hi Karen! I am always amazed at how just subtracting, adding or putting in a thought-bridge can just bring new life and meaning to an absolute mess. And I am no great writer either.
    I used to abhor editing. So much trouble! But now, if I approach it with an eye for the reader, great things can happen. (Stress on the 'can'!)
    Hope you had a blessed Easter!
    Ceil

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  6. I'm editing two and writing a first draft of a memoir (for a lady who started our church for the exceptional (handicapped, disabled, like my Christopher), and some picture books. SO. I wish it were all finished, amigo. I do agree with the quote. But I wish I could write that perfect first draft. *snort*

    "When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” ― Stephen King *sigh*

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  7. I have found I really do like editing, it's were the story really starts to sparkle.

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  8. There's something comfortable about editing. Maybe it's because I'm very focused on specifics most of the time. I liken it to adding the polish to a marble statue. I like to make it shine and get rid of all those rough spots.

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  9. Ceil,
    I think you are a lovely writer! I think like you said, it's looking at the full picture that helps too. We're always learning something, aren't we? :)

    Robyn,
    Wow, you are one busy amigo! Well, when you figure out the secret to writing the first draft, you'll have to let us know, okay? Maybe you could bottle the secret or something. :)

    Holly,
    Yes, I think you are right! We need that process to get things just right.:)

    Lee,
    I know what you mean- comfortable is a good word for it. Polishing things up like a statue. I like that! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  10. I enjoy editing. I've learned to do searches for overused words. We all have our pet words, don't we?

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  11. I check for those four things as well. I prefer revising, which is doing major changes and seeing the story take shape. I find editing exhausting.

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  12. Sometimes I ask a friend to read what I have wrote, only wish I could have her do it all the time. It's hard to edit your own work or so I find. But what would you do if all of us were good at editing. Blessings.

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  13. Sometimes I ask a friend to read what I have wrote, only wish I could have her do it all the time. It's hard to edit your own work or so I find. But what would you do if all of us were good at editing. Blessings.

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  14. Diane,
    The word search is a great feature; I do it as well. Yes, we do have our "pet" words. Funny how we aren't always even conscious of their use. :)

    Medeia,
    This is a good point. Revising is sometimes the part I don't care for if it is extensive and I am not sure how to handle it. Glad to hear you enjoy it! :)

    Betty,
    Appreciate you stopping by. :) It's helpful to have others look over our work, isn't it? A good set of friends to help critique is priceless. You are right, we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  15. Happy Blogaversary late!!! I hope you've had a wonderful month. I generally check content, then spelling and grammar, with a read through for word choices and typos. I harbor deep regrets when I don't read something out loud. I am the typo queen for both spelling and grammar issues.

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  16. I do enjoy editing. As long as I'm making it better. Although I have to rely on others to tell me the grammar issues because I fail to see them, it's always a great outcome! I do love helping others with content and plot, I don't add a thing with grammar issues. LOL
    Thanks, for your comment on Alex's blog. I so appreciate it!

    @YolandaRenee from
    Defending The Pen
    Parallels
    Murderous Imaginings

    Yeah, I'm practicing my A to Z Signature. LOL

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  17. I love editing. Polishing, making the scenes better. Creating new prose is my greatest challenge. Thank goodness for my editor!

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  18. Yes. I love editing. I love it when I'm doing it for clients, and I love it when I'm doing it for myself, because it's ingrained in me and part of my writing structure. I can't write without editing, and lately I can't seem to read without editing either. lol

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  19. I did some editing tonight. My editor wanted me to replace the word "sat." Do you know a search for a synonym came up with nothing? Ugh. If you haven't guessed by now, I'm struggling to change my attitude toward editing.

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  20. Tyrean,
    Thank you! I think your writing comes off polished, so don't be so hard on yourself! :) Besides, we're always learning something right?

    Yolanda,
    Editing helps us to the finish line, right? Glad you have a good editing team. It was good to see you at Alex's, and a few other blogs this week. :)

    Joylene,
    Editors are worth their weight in gold, aren't they? :) Making those words shine, that's what we do!

    Lisa,
    This is a good point. And you know, I feel much the same. I recently came to the same conclusion, that my writing style includes some editing. Rather freeing, isn't it? :)

    Susan,
    LOL, yes, I know how you feel about editing! But then, your projects are large being that they are entire novels. So that could intimidate most any of us! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  21. I wouldn't use the word 'fun' to describe editing, but it is a necessary process and very rewarding. I always depend on friends in the USA to point out my grammar and common language mistakes, but reading out loud helps too!

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  22. Your editing points are spot on, Karen, especially the dose of class and common sense. Thanks!

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  23. Marja,
    I admire your fluency with English not being your native language. You'd never guess while reading your books. I can see where you might not be as thrilled about editing in that respect. :)

    Susan,
    Thank you! Well, I figure class and common sense are part of the package, you know? :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  24. I like that Dr. Seuss quote. I don't think I've ever heard it before. Thought provoking, and I will keep it in mind as I write.

    I don't enjoy editing other people's work (even though it happens automatically, dog gone it). But for real, I don't like it as much. It is satisfying, though, to polish a piece I've written and make it shine!

    I'm still thinkin' on that quote...

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  25. I also like the Dr. Suess quote. I find I am becoming friends with editing. BUt it has taken a while.

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  26. Yes, I agree with Dr. Suess' quote! and I actually like revising, because I know I'm going to end up with a better manuscript. I LOVE the challenge of tightening and slashing the word count so the same basic info is there but in a more concise way. :)

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  27. Hi Karen,

    Nice meeting you. I found you through Betty's blog. I enjoy writing and editing, but I find that they take very different parts of my brain and energy.

    Have a great week. Lovely to meet you.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

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  28. I once thought I would never like accounting. But there is something satisfying when the numbers balance. I feel that way about editing too. There is something satisfying when it polished and all in its proper place.

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  29. Rhonda,
    I was tickled when I found that quote, not just for who said it, but because it really fits! :) Now see, I thought you might like the editing for others thing. Who knew? lol I don't mind editing others' work if they are okay with that.

    Cecelia,
    You know, it isn't everyone's cup of tea or specialty. But do it we must. Comes with the territory, right? :)

    Carol,
    Don't you love that quote? Fun stuff, and so true. :) It really is a challenge to make those words shine, isn't it?

    Jennifer,
    Nice meeting you too! :) Thanks for stopping by. I think you are right, we work more than one part of our brains and expend a fair amount of energy in the process.

    Lynn,
    It's funny sometimes, our perception of things, you know? Tidying things up, whether numbers or words, can be rewarding! :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!