Polish

Something I rarely do on my blogs, polish.  Even editing is on the fly and not necessarily done if I am in a hurry.  That is so bad!  Part of what makes me a ‘bad writer’.  I am lazy and sloppy.

Seriously, anyone who doesn’t research their information, grammar, spelling, and approach before, during and after writing is sloppy.  That isn’t even taking into consideration the grammar police out there or the persnickety reader.  It just is.

Yes,  I am very guilty of this, so please don’t take these as absolutes.  I don’t even observe my own process all the time.  Still, I have one.  That is part of what most writers develop over time.

So, polish.

polish – improve, refine, or add finishing touch  (definition from Oxford Dictionary)

This is how I look at it –  Editing is getting all dressed up. Sure you showered/used soap and cleaned up, put on your best clothes, but still you have a dirty neck.  That dirty neck, something you forgot, that could you go back and redo – IN A HEART BEAT. That is what the polish stage is for fixing.

Taking time to do your best to the Nth degree.  Sure, let anyone who helped you edit give it one more look.  Still better, is something entirely different.  Someone who after all the beta reading, rewriting, and editing, has never seen it.  This will be their first look, after all that work is finished.  That person, they will see that something.  The material is fresh.  They are the blank slate that most readers (one hopes) are.  So you get feedback on what finishing touches would put it over the top.

Ok, so maybe they don’t have a suggestion, but talking with them after reading might inspire you.  Or it might not. And you can decided if a suggestion is appropriate.

So spit on it, get that polishing cloth out and give it a go.

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Self Edit

I am still working on this one!

Based on information from reliable sources, this is what I ‘get’ or understand about self editing.

Take it line by line.

Look at the obvious – grammar and punctuation.  When in doubt, look it up.

  • There are many sources, Grammar Girl  on-line, English grammar books from high school as well as college classes, etc.
  • dictionary, thesaurus

Read it aloud.

  • Record and play back later to really hear what it sounds like.
  • Have someone else read it to you.

Set it aside and come back to do the above at a later time (I rarely do that for posts).

If you have more suggestions, please share!

Edit or idiot

My fifth step in writing is editing.  Yes, I know it is debatable whether or not I do this. Not the point.  These are the points –

  1.  To Self Edit or Not.
    • I always try to find others to edit me.  By the time I get here my mind is starting to imagine all the corrections.  I won’t see common errors. Frustrations from the process step in making it impossible for me to see clearly problems with plot, character and what not.
  2. To PAY for editing or not.
    • I have done both. With Snowball I paid for an English professor to edit the first draft.  That was painful, for both of us. Then I had a dear, dear friend edit the several subsequent versions for content and errors, and another (she went through for a polishing look for me).  Those friends were unpaid, but boy if I ever become famous I will be telling everyone and their brother, sister, third cousin as well as next door neighbors (with their permission) who they were.  (I also gave them credit in my book.)
    • In paying, it is definitely worth it for the right editor. One thing of concern is picking the right one.  You want someone in the genre, with experience.  Definitely one area where buyer beware and educate yourself on their past work and who you are dealing with.  READ THE CONTRACT.  What are services are they bringing to the table?  Always ask questions and make sure you both understand what one wants and the other can deliver.
    • This is one of those cases of doing both.  If you have friends/family that are willing to read through and give you marks for improvement and correction for minimal or no expense – won’t hurt and could cut back on the expense of a good editor who won’t be boggled down by common errors easily corrected.  They will be able to give you far better evaluation.
  3.  What to do with that information.
    • Do nothing.
      • yes, there are some writers who will ignore all commentary and editing and forge ahead.  Who really is to say who is right or wrong? (I would say the readers and market for the genre and writing style)
    • Do everything the editor says without question
      • Sure, if you are confident and in sync with the editor in vision and purpose, why not?
      • or . . .
    • Evaluate and consider the editor’s advise and direction as well as corrections
      1. THE BEST THING TO DO!  Always. Step back and think about what was said, why did they make those comments. Will it improve the story you are trying to tell. For my first book it clarified my vision of the  story I wanted to tell.

That is plenty to consider and think about on the subject of editing.  My opinion is this is an important step, as important as the concept and writing. This can make or break a great story.  It deserves time, thought, and follow through.