Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Better Editing


- Never get the same feedback twice.

When you get good feedback regarding a grammatical error or a weakness in your writing, it typically applies to all other simular instances. For example, if a reader says you need to capitalise a name, they shouldn’t have to point it out every time you use that name. Likewise, if someone points out that an info dump is boring or the description lacks sizzle—unless they say it’s only in that scene, you can assume all your description needs work and you should remove as many info dumps as possible.

When I get feedback from my edit, she’ll highlight an instance of something she wants changed—explain why she wants it changed and politely informs me she’s certain I can find and fix the rest on my own. Which I do.

In stark contrast, when I am giving friends feedback on their writing—I’ll address a number of issues in one chapter, only to have them hand me the next chapter two weeks later with the SAME ERRORS.

Now, I’m not saying there aren’t editors and agents in the world who won’t hold your hand and point out the same mistakes to you over and over. However it’s just about the most lazy and unproductive approach I’ve ever heard of. Aren’t we all striving to be better writers? Do any of us really think we’ve peaked and further improvement is unnecessary?

Well, fixing those things you KNOW should be fixed is part of being a better writer. Remember the feedback you receive and apply it to future writing. Conscious editing is good editing.

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