Monday, June 10, 2019

Editing Tips



Editing is something we all have to do at some point, no matter the route we take with publishing. 

It's challenging to look at our own work and see all of the flaws, especially after a first draft.

It's still challenging on the second, third, fourth, and all the other drafts it takes to finish. 

So I started compiling a list of tips, then I asked for some help from Instagram and Twitter followers. 

So, the image contains my list of tips (plus, I added them below in case the image has problems). 

After the image, we have all the awesome tips given by fellow authors. 


1. Print out your draft.
2. Use several colors of pens to highlight and take notes.
3. Use sticky notes.
4. Read it out loud.
5. Always highlight a part you like in each editing session with your favorite color.


"Printing out is key. I always highlight my favorite sentences, too! I also find reading the beginning and ending back to back is helpful to see if they play well together. I always tell my students ... don't marry your first draft! Don't be afraid to cross out, add, change, and rearrange!"

From Phi @longwaydownbook on Instagram:
"Leave yourself comments about your emotions as you read! If you wrote a sad scene and it's not making you sad when you reread it, you may need to look at it again."

"I love my multi-coloured pen approach. I bought a pack of twelve coloured pens for the purpose, but the yellow is pointless for writing - it's my doodle pen now ... I have a specific pen to procrastinate." 😊

"I like to print out my manuscript when I edit. It "feels" like a different process than writing on the computer and I think my brain recognizes it as such. Also, have lots of cookies at hand."

From Tonja Drecker @TDrecker on Twitter:
"When I have trouble capturing a character's reactions/thoughts, I sometimes write a section in another POV (1st instead of 3rd) so as to see it from another angle."

From Laurel Garver @LaurelGarver on Twitter
"Change the line length and font size. You need to trick your brain to see the words anew, not as you *think* you wrote them."

From Linda K. Rodante @lrodante on Twitter
"Circle every "to be" verb--am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been and then see if you can change that sentence to get rid of them. Of course, you can't and shouldn't get rid of them all, but try to get rid of a good percentage, esp on your first page!"

This is the first of a series of posts I hope to do with tips from friends and followers. I'll be posting one about handling rejection in the IWSG site on June 17. 

BTW - if you are looking for ways to engage with your Twitter and Instagram community, I recommend trying something like this. Be sure to add the hashtag: #writingcommunity or the hashtags appropriate to your post to get responses. (And if you have accounts in both places, always share "through" from one to the other for more engagement.)


The IWSG is accepting submissions for the newest short story anthology. See details here

The June Instagram "Challenge" is here.

Tellables founder Amy Stapleton is doing a guest post at IWSG today about Voice First Storytelling. Check it out. 

Do you have any editing tips to share? 
Which editing tips mentioned above do you use?

And, if you have any to share, would you like to be a part of an Editing Tips, Part 2 post in August? Let me know by stating that in the comment section. 


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I couldn't edit without printing it out. I see things on the printed page I miss on the computer screen.

Murees Dupè said...

Great tips. I always feel so guilty when printing out my manuscript. But it does help the editing process.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I like Laurel Garver's tip. That's why some people edit on a tablet - because you can change the font and its size.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great tips. I do some of them, like read it aloud. When I finish a manuscript, I have printed it too. You're right. It does help.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Alex and Murees - I think printing really helps, even though it feels a bit bad to print out the whole draft.

Diane - that's true!

Tyrean Martinson said...

Natalie - Reading aloud seems like it should really get everything, but I managed to miss a few things even while doing that. But, every bit helps.

Heather R. Holden said...

So many great editing tips! Reading aloud is something I do a lot for my comics, to make sure the dialogue isn't clunky. And definitely agree about the sticky notes--can never have too many of those! XD

Patricia Lynne said...

I like the idea of highlighting a scene you like. It can get hard tearing WIPs apart. We need to remember the good bits are there, too.

The Cynical Sailor said...

Great tips! I love how you put a call out to others to get their ideas. Looking forward to more of these posts.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Heather - reading aloud for dialogue really helps!

Patricia - yes, we need to remember the good parts so we keep on writing.

Ellen - I think it's fun to bring out everyone's ideas.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I read it on my kindle. I used to print it out, but I've found my kindle gives me the same objectivity and I can leave notes while reading. So glad because I was costing myself a fortune in ink!

Another the pages out of order so you don't get caught up in the story.

mshatch said...

These are all excellent tips. I especially like to read aloud as it helps me hear the rhythm of the words so I can catch any awkwardness as well as missing words (I'm bad at this - my brain writes fast than my fingers). Also agree with getting rid of as many 'to be' verbs as possible.