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Chop Chop: Let's Talk About Editing

by EJ Fowler and Sarah Perchikoff

Editing is not as easy as that seven-letter word makes it seem. It's not proofreading. It's not revising. It's editing. For some writers, it can be a word that paralyzes them with fear. Someone looking at our story?? No, thank you! Other writers bask in the opportunity to have someone read their work and help make it better. Here are four tips to better editing.

  • Communicate with your editor

This is probably the most important when you're working with an editor. You need to tell them what your worries are, where you think your story could be improved, and what you want them to help you with. If they don't know what you're looking for from them, they might end up not addressing the issue you were most worried about.

Communicating with your editor will also ensure there aren't as many problems or fights over certain scenes once you get your first edits back. Communication is key!

  • Set aside specific time blocks

This is advice more for the editor than for the writer. Don't try to edit a whole manuscript in one sitting. You won't do your best work and you're likely burn yourself out. Set a timer and schedule out blocks when you're going to edit. This allows you to have breaks and makes the work feel less daunting. Editing a 100,000-word story is no joke. Editing a chapter per session or in 30-minute or hour chunks makes the process much more manageable.

  • Approach only when ready

Writers, this one is for you! When you get your edits back, give it time. Don't look at them right away. Give yourself a few days until you're ready and open-minded enough to take in the criticism. Looking through the edits too soon can cause you to go into a spiral of either feeling like a failure as a writer or questioning everything your editor pointed out. After a few days, you'll have some perspective and be more open to taking the advice and doing something with it.

  • Take care in who edits your work

Besides communication, this is one of the most important things to remember when you're looking for an editor. Make sure they've edited in your genre before and that they're familiar with the common tropes and clichés in that genre. If they don't know the common storylines, tropes, or tools used in your genre, they aren't the editor for you.

Perhaps there is something in your story that has been done again and again in a certain genre? Or maybe your story has elements that look a little too much like an already-popular series? You want an editor who is experienced and knowledgeable enough to point it out and give you ideas of how to make it better.

Have you worked with an editor? Or have you gotten any good editing tips that've helped you in your editing process? Let us know in the comments below!


About the Author: EJ Fowler's introduction to The Writer's Workout was as an intern during the 2017 Writer's Games, where her passion for engaging with writers and talking about how writing works led her to becoming the Director of Social Media. She graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies, Writing, and a minor in Applied Linguistics.

Recently, she's been spending a lot of time taking care of her and her partner's new kitten: Ophelia, who lovingly goes by Ophie (@ophiethekitten) as she loves to sit on keyboards and play with hair ties. Keep up with EJ on Instagram: @andromeda_falls

Sarah Perchikoff is a writer of many different things: novels, short stories, articles, and blog posts. When she's not writing or editing (or procrastinating), she likes to play with her dog, Gracie, and read way too many books and blog about them at Bookish Rantings. She’s also known to hoard Sour Patch Kids, spend too much time on social media, and eat as many french fries as possible. Sarah currently lives in Michigan where she, unsuccessfully, tries to stay warm.

Sarah started as an intern/judge for the Writer's Games and is now the Director of Brand for The Writer's Workout. She loves to see how writers develop their process, hone their craft, and the unique stories they come up with through their writing journey. You can connect with Sarah on Twitter: @sperchikoff.


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