Editing is always an interesting experience– writing I can do, editing I’m not awesome at, so I make it up as I go.
Mainly, the first thing you want to do is make sure you read a lot. Know what you’re doing when it comes to the main rules of writing. Follow writing blogs, read up on anything you’re unsure of. @legit-writing-tips is great about answering questions you might have, and other writing tumblr blogs will have tips to use ( @clevergirlhelps is one I follow ).
During the actual writing, since there’s normally two of us working on the story, we normally write the first draft in black font. Any future edits are then color coded by the person who changed things. Currently, @neonthewrite uses pink font and I use blue. We’ll often end up with something like so:
The changes can be for more detail, finding words that repeat too often, misused words and various other things. There are other sites that can help locate passive voice, adverbs and so on.
http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ is one such that I’ve used in the past.
After we’ve both gone through the entire story, we find one of our various beta readers to have them take a look and find anything we might have missed, and after that is done, though we may go back and read the story again and perhaps change little things here and there, we declare the story ready for posting!
My biggest piece of advice is write, write and write. Never stop because that’s the way you learn! Get feedback and just have a good time!
@neonthewrite with my own two cents!
The above apps are great tools. Another thing I do when I’m editing, either in our collabs or my own work (or when I am acting as one of the aforementioned beta readers) is to read some passages out loud or at least picture how they’d sound in my head. I do this and end up finding repetitive words or sounds quickly, and it helps to feel the flow of a sentence or paragraph. Sometimes a sentence that looks okay simply wouldn’t sound good.
Keeping the story flowing is something I put a lot of focus on, especially when I edit stuff that was written by two people. This might not be as relevant for solo writing, but it bears mentioning anyway:
Sometimes, a paragraph would be better suited somewhere else, or even broken up into its sentences and scattered to the paragraphs around it. We call this “paragraph surgery” in our little group of writers, and it’s the reason you sometimes can’t tell who wrote which parts of a collab. It all comes down to flow.
If the editing process is causing you enough stress to prevent you actually writing, just hold off on it for a bit. Some folks can edit while they go with few issues. Sometimes, however, you run into something that you know you want to change, but don’t know how yet, and it freezes the story in its tracks.
It’s okay to skip parts like that, write the scene you’re dying to get to, and iron it out later. There’s a good chance that writing that later scene will untangle your thoughts about the previous one. It kinda comes back to the flow thing and the bigger picture; you just need more information sometimes and writing ahead can give it to you.
Write what you like, have fun doing it, and know that you are getting better at it with every word!
@borrowedtimeandspace chiming in!
As the baby of the group and someone who has not studied the ins and outs of writing, I sort of play it by ear. I’ve learned a lot over years of writing and reading and improving by doing, and I have gleaned so much from my cowriters.
I agree with the above advice; when I’m editing I usually find myself going back and correcting small grammatical errors and adding things I forgot to write the first time around. Often times my pen or typing fingers move slower than my ideas, so if I go back and read I’ll probably remember something I thought about writing but didn’t make it to the page.
The more you read and write, the more you find your own voice. You get a better sense of what sounds right with regard to sentence and paragraph structure, and if you keep at it you’ll end up with something you’re proud of.