How should you edit your own work for publication?
Also, are there any differences between editing for online publication, blogs, and physical publication.
I would say with anything you write, you should give it some time before editing your work, if at all possible. I usually write a hub, edit it once immediately, and then come back to it a day or two later. You notice a lot more when you come back a day or so later. In your mind, you already know what was meant, so you read that instead of what is in front of you at first.
It does help to read it out loud if you can. Even if you don't read it out loud, make sure to read it as if you have never seen it before. It helps you determine if it reads well and makes sense. It never hurts to add details or change sentences for clarity.
Print and edit a hard copy. If on screen, enlarge the print as much as possible and edit in a sans font as this makes errors easier to spot than when using a serif font.
Never ever rely on the automatic spellchecker to check spelling and grandma. Oh yes, that happened. A misspelled 'grammar' was auto changed to 'grandma' so no red underline and the author didn't check before submitting.
The purpose of editing is to get it right. It doesn't matter whether it is a novel or a blog or a silly little tweet.
To me, there are a couple of levels of editing. The simplest is to check for spelling errors and mistakes in grammar. The other, more complex area to review and correct when necessary is what I call clarity and coherence, a clear and logical flow.
Careful re-reads are probably your best tool. You have to be willing to read your own work over and over again if you hope to iron out all the problems. Read it after you wrote it. Read it after setting it aside. Read it after editing it. I re-read everything, including emails, facebook posts, and even this comment. It won't always catch every error, but you'd be surprised how much you can fix.
First finish what you're writing. don't write and edit at the same time. If you change your mind about something, by all means do it, if you think it will set the pace. If your writing is retrospective then keep to the past tense in your prose. If your perspective changes, make a clear break or make your reader aware that your terms of reference have temporarily changed, and then go back to your chosen retrospective.
My RAVENFEAST books are written as related to my central character in the present tense, but in places I take them back in time. Each time I 'change gear', I break the narrative and leave a visible space before taking them on. I also try to keep the prose going forward, active verbs not passive ones do that more effectively. 'I am going' is passive, 'I go' is active.
Taken in context, I edit to keep the motion in motion. If my character is in a reflective mood, I will edit his thoughts to read active-passive. Keep the '-ing' endings to a minimum, otherwise you'll get your readers thinking I am not following this very easily. it's like mentally trudging through soft sand or mud. Let them stride through the narrative at a steady pace and they'll arrive refreshed at the end.
Break up the narrative into bite-sized paragraphs. Don't 'rabbit' on and on. Life gets tedious enough without wading through pages of narrative without a rest. It's like a long walk, let your readers stop and admire the view, then tag them along again to the next view.
They'll thank you by buying your books again.
After reading and reviewing the book 'Grammer Girl' I remember a comment which said write first, that's your rough draft; and edit second with punctuation, the same way if one was freestyle writing.
It is hard to edit your own work. That being said, the answer will depend on how large the work is.
An example: A short story under 6,000 words can be put aside for a few days and easily scanned for blatant errors.
Novellas, or works exceeding 30,000 words, should be put aside for a full month before any editing is attempted.
The real answer you are looking for is: You cannot truly edit your own work.
To polish your work it goes through many rewrites and critiques. This will make the story very familiar to you. When this happens, your brain will disregard errors, and you will read your work skipping over the errors.
What to do:
Complete your rewrites until you have polished your story/novella/novel. Usually 6 or more rewrites will be needed. Once that is complete, search out a good editor. Don't go cheap on this step. Editing is important, and there are several different types of editing you can get. They range from simple editing (spelling and grammar checking), to line editing (following the story line for consistency).
Poor editing sticks out and makes a person put your hard work down. If you are serious about writing, follow the steps and have a polished work available for your audience.
by Kristin Kaldahl 6 years ago
I just wrote a hub, and I have edited it four or five times. Still (and as always), I'm finding errors with each editing. I know I am not alone in finding it difficult to edit my own work. Do you edit your own work, or do you have someone who edits for you? Has there ever been an...
by Christin Sander 3 years ago
Why is it easier to edit the writing of others than our own?I've noticed that if I am working on an editing assignment; I can easily spot mistakes and fix them. When I edit my own, even after taking a break after writing it; it can be difficult to see and hear my own mistakes. The...
by Kathleen Odenthal 4 years ago
Is there a difference between good writing and quality writing?I read a lot of hubs that are covering great topics, hitting key points and written in an engaging manner, but they have many grammatical errors. Now, I may be a bit of a grammar and spelling snob, but I feel like those two elements are...
by M. T. Dremer 6 years ago
Hypothetical question about editing a friend's writing.Let's say a friend of yours is self publishing their book and they are one more step away from a final product. You know they are going to publish it, and yet they ask you to read it in the hopes of finding some last minute quick fixes. As you...
by Marina 3 years ago
Happy Thursday, everyone! In August we pre-announced a new tool that fixes common spelling and grammatical errors across the site. Today, Editbot, the first iteration of the tool, is live on a small percentage of Hubs and their comments. It will be gradually rolled out to all Hubs over the next...
by Lena Kovadlo 7 years ago
How do you go about editing your writing?After you've written something (be it an article, a fiction piece, a short story, a blog, a book, etc.) how do you go about editing it? What is the process that you utilize to get your work to be the best it can be? Do you get others involved in helping you...
Copyright © 2019 HubPages Inc. and respective owners. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc. HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.
HubPages Inc, a part of Maven Inc.
|HubPages Device ID||This is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.|
|Login||This is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.|
|HubPages Traffic Pixel||This is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.|
|Remarketing Pixels||We may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.|
|Conversion Tracking Pixels||We may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.|