Thursday, June 11, 2015

Editing and Proofreading, Oh My

From #Bubble Cow I learned, and was overwhelmed by, the entire editing/proofreading process. Gosh–o-mighty writers, look at this.

First you write the book, you throw your heart and soul into it. It’s your baby. But, you wonder, will anyone want it?  What if my baby is boring?  It’s like home movies. They were our pictures. We took them. Seeing them rekindles experiences of standing atop the pyramid at Chichen Itza and looking out over the vast expanse of jungle and seeing the horizon, a pencil line North to South as far as the eye can see.  (Well, that was one picture.) Yet in our living room, (old days, projector running) from out of the darkness comes outright snoring.

Well damn!

So, it’s back to the drawing board, or give those people some coffee and chocolate. They didn’t come to your house to be inundated with your ruminating.

While I am out in the kitchen pouring coffee over chocolate ice cream, here are some tidbits on editing and proofreading you can chew on.

First  I know why a professional writer looks so good.


So, let’s look at the editing process:

Editing is the first step in the publication process, and the focus is on structure rather than fixing every little typo.

The editor will look at three things:

  • Structure

The way the book is written. For fiction it will be things like showing not telling, narrative tension and pacing.
For nonfiction, it is more about examining your argument, making it understandable, and making it easy to learn—if that’s what you are going for.

  • Flow

Flow is the way the book reads, the plot, how well your book fits into its genre. Does it have glaring errors?  Here, too, is fact- checking.

  • Line Structure

This is a line by line assessment. The editor will look at your sentence structure and make changes which they think will improve the book. They will look at punctuation of dialogue, and the clearest way to phrase a sentence. You can accept or reject these changes, so you still have some control.
You thought your book was ready to go to press right?

No, now comes the proofreading …

This removes spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors. The proofreader will also ensure a level of consistency within your book.

Some proofreading services such as Bubble Cow, will read your book twice. On the first read, the proof reader will correct errors and add consistency. On the second read, the proofreader will make sure nothing was missed and that the words convey the intended meaning. Proofreading should be the final task before publication.

Now, if you have paid for these services go out and sell enough books to cover the expense.

Oh, I don’t mean to be discouraging. You won’t be. You will take advice or not, for I know about writers. You write because it is your passion. All the rules, restrictions and rejections that come your way will not keep you you’re your appointed task, and that is to put words on the page.

Go for it!