Monday 21 September 2020

The Editing Process - The After Process



I've not talked about the whole editing process as a whole in a long while. I have discussed my editing process, which you can find here, and other bits and pieces about it, but I thought today I would dive into the editing process full stop. If you're a newbie writer and have just started or finished your first book, this is the piece for you because I'm gonna be going through all the steps you need to take when it comes to editing.

Just to get a few things out of the way, I see editing and revising as different things. Revising is when you're the only one making changes, or looking at the document. It's usually part of that after writing process, but usually happens after a bit of a break from the manuscript (piece coming next week!) For me editing is when you start to involve other people, like betas, critique partners, developmental editors and so on. This is what I'm going to be talking about today simply because everyone's revision journey has a different look and I don't think I have anything to add to the conversation there. But if you'd like me to, then lemme know in the comments!

This is usually something you'll do after having gone through revisions yourself over a few drafts. The exact number doesn't exist because it depends on the book, on you, and so on. If you don't know, betas are readers from your target audience who read the book and give you feedback on what works, what doesn't, what they enjoyed, what they didn't, and characters, pacing and the like. This is generally a free service, though you can pay for betas, though I never have.

Critique partners are fellow writers with whom you swap chapters/books and such and give critique on them. This is usually someone who writes to your skill level, and writes the same kind of books, but it doesn't have to be. It's all down to how you click, and how you work out that partnership. Because it is a partnership, you are giving them critique, they are giving you the same.

This step is usually the first because you want to make sure that before you move onto step two, you have as clean as manuscript as possible. You will have to input those changes, as you see fit, but once you've done that and have gone through rounds of betas to know that you have as good a story as you're going to get, then you can move on.

This is the editor that you want to go to first because they're going to be looking at big changes, on the story as a whole. They will be looking at the character arcs, the plot, seeing if there are any holes, offering suggestions if they have any, that kind of thing. They generally won't bother with grammar simply because it's possible that huge chunks are going to be rewritten or changed.

For me this is the step that takes the longest amount of time, and I get the impression that it can be for a lot of other writers. I work with my developmental editor over three months and we go through chapter by chapter. I know that other editors will do what's called an edit letter where they read the book, and make notes and give you a report at the end, and then you're free to make what changes you see fit. I prefer my way of working through it, as have the editors I've worked with. But nothing wrong with either.

Once all those changes are done to your satisfaction, then you can move onto the next step.


I've grouped these two together because it depends on who you go to, and what kind of editing experience they have as to which one they do. I've heard from other editors that line and copy can be done at the same time. But first let me explain the different. Line is going line by line, making sure the words flow, that the pacing is right, that there aren't any awkward phrasings etc. Copy editors will be checking grammar, and making sure everything is ready to go to print.

Now I use a line editor who does both, so I get the best of both worlds. This is usually done through track changes and then letting you choose which ones to change and such. I do this in Google docs and we go through and change things as needed.

And finally, STEP #4 PROOF READER
This is the last step before your book is ready for publishing. A proof reader goes through, checks for any errors, everything in the formatting and such that should be there, and then corrects it if there's a problem. The idea being that once this step is complete, no more changes are made so that no errors sneak through.

And then you're done and the book is ready to be published! This whole process takes about five months for me, but it's worth it to know that my book is the best version it can be!

Any questions on the editing process? Lemme know in the comments below!

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