The Hard Facts About Editing


Whether you're interviewing for a new job, trying to woo a love interest on a first date, selling your work on the Internet, or submitting a query to an editor, you can never make a second first impression. It's true. It's just one of life's hard facts.

To sell your article, novel, product, or yourself, you need to work on that very critical first impression--and a surefire way to make a bad impression is to present poorly edited work. All the hours of researching, outlining, and writing are squandered if the final version of your manuscript is not tightly written and error-free.

How can you possibly convince an editor, agent, or customer that you can produce a great product when there are errors in your queries, on your web site, or in your marketing materials? I don't know about you, but I lose trust in what I'm reading once I've seen more than one error. In some cases (e.g., a web site for an editing service) even that one error is enough. I think it's careless and it leads me to wonder if the creator is as careless with the quality of his products or services.

Okay, now that we've made it clear that you will be judged harshly by your errors, let's work on ways to error-proof your work.

Editing Cures More than Typos. Proper editing cures not only typographical errors, but also inconsistent statements, ambiguities, poorly written sentences, and weak word choices. Appropriate attention to these aspects of writing make all the difference between a mediocre piece of work and an excellent one.

Spelling and Grammar Checks. Standard spelling and grammar checks are available to you, so use them! Remember, however, they won't catch everything.

Print Your Work. Print a copy of your manuscript and whip out the red pen. Generally, you will find mistakes you weren't able to detect when reading on the monitor.

Let It Simmer. Put your manuscript away for a period of time so that you can look at it later with fresh eyes. After the established time period, print another copy of your work and again, pull out the red pen. Tighten your sentences, examine your word choices, and hunt down any errors you couldn't find before. I find this step to be invaluable!

Ask a Friend to Read. It's helpful to have friends look at your work. They'll see it with a new perspective, which in turn will help them find things you may have missed. But remember, non-writer friends may not always know what to look for. Friends may also be shy about correcting you. You need dead-honest criticism, so if you feel you won't get it from a particular person, don't ask him to read.

Join a Critique Group. Peer critiques can be a terrific way to get feedback on your work, and to offer feedback on the work of others. As an added benefit, you will learn that there's a lot to gain from correcting others' mistakes. There are many online critique groups. (One place to look is Yahoo Groups http://groups.yahoo.com/). Find one that works for you, then submit and critique as needed.

Read Books. There are many good books that can teach you to become a better self-editor. Check out a couple of them. Also, make sure to keep a style guide handy. One good one is Strunk and White's, "The Elements of Style."

Hire an Editor. A good editor will be able to reveal hidden mistakes and will ensure that your best possible work is being submitted. There are many editors who will gladly take your money, so be careful when choosing someone with whom to work. Ask friends for recommendations. If you'd like "my" recommendation, WritersBreak.com works with a fantastic and super-affordable editor who owns BookShelf Editing Services. I cannot recommend her highly enough for editing articles, novels, or web material. She can be found at www.writersbreak.com/bookshelf-editing.htm.

Remember, few things undermine credibility as quickly as work that contains errors. But, on a positive note, also remember that there are many actions you can take to avoid them.

About The Author

Jennifer Minar is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer who writes for the health & fitness and writing markets. She is also the founder & managing editor of Writer's Break (http://www.writersbreak.com), a web site and ezine for fiction and creative non-fiction writers. Jennifer can be contacted at jminar@writersbreak.com.


MORE RESOURCES:
RELATED ARTICLES
Common Writing Mistakes - Are These Holding You Back From Writing Success?
During the years that I've been teaching writing and participating in writers' critique sessions, I've seen some real talent. There are writers who produce such sparkling prose that you know publication is only a matter of time.
Your Words Will Determine Your Business!
Be careful when you write.Words you use, sentences you phrase will reveal what you are.
How to Outline your Book and Chapters with Mindmapping
Mindmapping is better than linear outlining because authors can use flexible thinking and relativity in writing their book. One can add and subtract a thought or phrase from a mindmap easily.
Get Published: The Nuts and Bolts of Good English, and How to Impress a Publisher (1)
Not all writers write good grammar. That's a fact.
Keeping a Journal - One of the Three Treasures to Leave Behind
(excerpted from the "How to Use a Journal" audio series by Jim Rohn)If you're serious about becoming a wealthy, powerful, sophisticated, healthy, influential, cultured and unique individual, keep a journal. Don't trust your memory.
Seven Important Lessons for Experts Who Want to Get Published
At first, I noticed that I could have written many of the articles that appeared in Instructor magazine. Having earned a B.
Do You Plot With Your Character In Mind?
Creative Writing Tips -You are plotting the story. You write down what will happen, what problems will arise, what obstacles you will place so the character won't reach his goals immediately, what he's going to do to overcome these problems etc?So all these things will be happening to your character since it's his story we are telling.
If You Want to Succeed As a Writer, Dont Just Think It, Do It
It never ceases to amaze me when a prospective writer confesses that he or she has never put anything down on paper. Obviously, that's the first step.
Graphology - Unleash Inner Personality & Talent of Child
|| Graphology & Graphotherapy ||Everybody wants to know more about peoples inner personality, Especially peoples with whom you are dealing and peoples whom you like, dislike, adore & love.Now haven't you ever thought of just knowing a person inside out and there should be a method for this also? Here is the science which can make you read a person like book.
Top Ten Reasons Its Great To Be A Writer
10 - You will always have a job. As long as people want to read, other people like us need to write.
Writing Business Letters That Get The Job Done
Despite the widespread use of e-mail in commerce today,traditional business letters are still the main way that the majority of businesses officially communicatewith their customers and other businesses.This is especially true when businesses want to formalizean agreement or an understanding.
Freelance Writing: How Many Regular Clients Should You Have?
This is a tough question for every freelance writer. For me, the worst working scenario is when a few weeks go by and all my work comprises one-off jobs for small clients who never become repeat customers.
Why I Write
I started writing as a way of keeping safe memories of a particularly adventurous 3 years of my life when I became totally addicted to the world of online chat rooms and met a number of 'gentlemen' for real that I met in fantasyland online.However after I allowed an educated friend to read my short stories, I was motivated to attempt a manuscript, and whilst it was extremely daunting to open my life up for judgement, I considered the good I could do by way of educating people on the dangers of this kind of activity far outweighed my personal discomfort.
Write Possibilities
We writers are a powerful lot. We control time.
Screenwriting, Screenplays, Screenwriters - Incremental Productivity
When attempting to understand Creativity and Innovation, it pays to import the vast range of research and knowledge that has been accumulated in these fields - most of it is to be found in the field of Business and Management.For example, Writer's Block is intimately related to Organizational Culture - the same principles that prevent people from generating ideas in the corporate workplace are also responsible for Writer's Block - evaluation apprehension in its many forms.
Dreading the Writing Assignment? Outlines to the Rescue
Writing technical articles is a challenge. There you sit, surrounded by reams of research, notes and interviews.
Writing for the Internet -- How To Give the Readers What They Want
In this article you will find tips on: How to intrigue your readers from the very start-the most important part of your piece isn't the content, Once they're hooked-reel them in, How to keep them reading through the entire piece instead of scanning for information, Break it up!-How to keep their attention span from reaching its limits, and How to keep your readers from becoming distracted while reading your well crafted articles.IntroductionIf you're new at writing on the Super Information Highway you may be stumped as to what readers want.
Sharpen Your Writing With Structure
At some point, every serious writer is forced to sit down and conclude that there is something seriously wrong with their work. It wanders; it is pretty in some spots and horribly ugly in others.
The Writing Club
Typically when falling asleep in bed at night great thoughts enter the mind, long stringed and meaningful sentences trip over each other to receive attention at the front of the brain alongside all the brilliant findings, results, meanings that speak volumes and hard hitting phrases that are just the ticket to open the door to success. The last thought in the brain before sleep overrides this brilliant future work is, "must use that tomorrow".
Baby Boomers and Booklets - Share and Share Alike
As one of those fabulous Baby Boomers, you now own a lifetime of valuable experiences, experiences that are useful to other people. You've given so much to your family all these years.

Home | Articles Site Map