Author Blog Challenge # 11
Describe your editing process. Who edited your book? What was your relationship with your editor like? What could each of you have done to improve it? What might you do differently in the future?
As a copy editor, I tend to edit my own work; however, before I begin editing, I make sure I have the tools I need close by. I use the Australian Style Manual for authors, editors and printers, as a style guide and the Macquarie Dictionary for spelling and other references. My preference is to edit on screen, using Microsoft Word’s feature, Track Changes to mark any changes I wish to review later for acceptance or rejection. With Track Changes turned on, I run a comprehensive spelling and grammar check before I even first. Automated checkers don’t catch everything, but they get me off to a good start and free up more time and energy for manual editing. I also use the find-and-replace feature to quickly find or replace single or multiple errors.
If I am unsure about any aspect of grammar, spelling, punctuation, or context, I check this in the style manual and /or dictionary. I have learnt the importance of vigilance and the balance required between correctness and good judgment, knowing rules sometimes need to be sacrificed for personal style. I find that by combining a structural edit with a basic proof read, I have less to distract me in the final proofread, during which I read slowly and out loud to check for readability, organization, and flow.
As I edit my own work, my relationship with myself remains undisturbed. Once I have edited to my satisfaction I like to use an independent proofreader to pick up the things I have missed – and I always miss a few, because I become so familiar with the writing my eye and brain doesn’t always synchronise. I don’t employ a professional proofreader, although I would happily do so if need be, but I would have to be sure they were both experienced and qualified and not just using a computer spell check – as some unscrupulous people do. For me, the proofreading stage is where writing groups have added benefit, for these are people used to analysing their own work and the work of others, and who have a keen eye for the odd typo and misplaced comma. They are also familiar with my writing style and less tempted to suggest changes - and a reciprocal arrangement is a great money saver.
I would not be averse to using an editor, as long as they had industry experience and good interpersonal skills.
~ Merlene Fawdry