Editing – Part 2

Last week I posted about Macro editing and how I go about starting the editing phase in my writing. Once I’ve gotten all the big picture elements edited properly, I move on to the finer details.

Micro-editing is typically called the line edit. This is where you will check grammar, language, clarity, sound, repitition, continuity, and authenticity. 

Just like in my macro-editing technique, I read through my work (in small sections) and focus on one element at a time. However, this part of the process requires such diligence and focus that there are bound to be mistakes that you don’t catch. So, I have put together a list of the ways I go about catching all the mistakes I possible can. 

  1. Read it aloud – This is quite possibly the best way to slow yourself down. When we read silently, we read so much quicker than when we say it aloud. Taking the time to read aloud can help you focus on the actual grammar and spelling. *You should try to force yourself to read slowly if you are a naturally fast reader. Nothing about editing should be quick. 
  2. Change the format – It can be super helpful to change the format of the piece before editing to help make it feel like a completely different work. I type mine onto a computer. I used to print it out (which can be very helpful during the editing phase for marking it), but ink and paper cost alot, so I use Scrivener now which lets me do all that stuff on my laptop. If you’re like me and you don’t want to print, changing the font style and size can make the difference. It will feel brand new and allow you to look at it with seemingly fresh eyes. 
  3. Read it backwards – Reading your work backwords keeps you from getting in your own way. Alot of times, when we edit, we remember the story that we’re writing and know exactly what we want to say. Because of this, we overlook alot of mistakes. In order to combat that inner voice, you can read your work from ending to beginning. Your mind won’t be able to tell you what you meant to write, thus making it easier for you to focus on editing and catching those pesky mistakes. 
  4. Listen to it – Another great way to edit is to close your eyes and listen to your work. You can do this by grabbing a buddy and having them read your work to you. I don’t have people that want to just sit and read to me (though that would be a dream come true), so I use google translate. I copy and paste a couple of paragraphs into it and listen closely as the translater reads it back to me (I don’t actually change the original language). When I hear a mistake, I mark it down. Easy peasy. 

So, there you have it. Those are techniques that I use when I micro edit. I’ve found that they are very helpful for me. Just like in macro-editing, I have created a checklist for my micro-editing process. Here it is:

My micro-edit diagnostic checklist:

1. Language– is it fresh or stale? Superfluous or precise? Are there too many adjectives, adverbs, or filler words? Is it necessary? Is it real?

2. Clarity– Is an idea muddy, vague or confusing?

3. Sound- Can the reader keep a steady rhythm while reading? Does a sentence or phrase sound awkward or incorrect?

4. Repetition– Are there too many words, phrases, or expressions being repeated too often?

5. Show vs. Tell– Are the details being fleshed out or vaguely summarized?

6. Authenticity- Is it real? does it make sense? Is it true to the character and/or world created? does the writing style get in the way or add to the story?

7. Continuity– Is every aspect convincing? Are the details consistent?

8. Beginnings, Endings, Transitions– Is there grace or tension? Does it move with a sense of purpose or get lost in the excessive word count. Are the transitions smooth?

While this is my process, I understand that there are other ways to edit. What are some techniques that you use? Also, what would you like to read about next?

I look forward to reading your responses.

Thanks for reading, 

KWR

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