Monday, January 20, 2014


After spending a semester working on my writing project for my Master of Arts Writing degree, I feel like a new writer. I was also able to take an intensive class taught by an Australian author and professor of writing. She really helped us fine tune our works. The editing skills I learned in that class alone will be invaluable to me forever.

Let's talk about editing. I started reading a book the other day ( I won't say which one or by whom) and I have not been able to finish because the editing is so poorly done. Another lesson we learned in class is this: if you as a writer are not a good editor, your work will suffer. A lot of publishers are spending less money these days on editing. This fact is a sad reality, because you get wonderful concepts without the follow-through of the writing. Writing is more than just jotting down some story you've imagined. That's a part of it, but writing is very much about editing. So, you get the story down in that first draft. Great. Now what? Editing, that's what. The next draft should be a much better version of that first draft. The story premise probably won't change. If it does, maybe it was necessary. Things like plot holes, timing errors, and inconsistencies will show up when you read through for the next draft. There are necessary layers of editing as well. I feel the book I started reading and couldn't finish would have been greatly served by a severe line edit. The structure of the story seemed fine. I felt as though the editing ended there.

So, what can be done to remedy the editing failures happening out there? As writers, I feel it is our responsibility to educate ourselves about good editing practices. Shouldn't we be putting our best work out there? You probably wouldn't send a child out without a jacket on a cold day. Why would you send your writing out without a good edit?  We need to prepare the work before it goes out into the world.

See a helpful post by Rachelle Gardner on the subject of editing here.

Happy writing and happy editing!

Photo via Favim