1. Pre-writing/Brainstorming: general planning/creation of the story
2. Writing: the actual typing/writing out of the brainstorming; invloves expanding the work of your pre-writing process
3. Revision*: where the author reviews, alters, and amends the draft (this can happen many times)
4. Editing*: looking at each sentence carefully, and making sure that it's well designed and serves its purpose
5. Publishing: When the book is finally ready to graduate from your personal desk to the public at large
But what no one has ever told me and that I have thus had had to learn for myself, is that all these steps are made up of other steps, and are generally repeated constantly (aside from #5 that is). But today we are looking at step 4 is actually a particularly multi-tiered step within itself, and if you try to bunch all these additional steps together, well, it will be hell. Because I'm having trouble editing my story, I am taking the time to write out some steps for editing for myself to follow—because it really has to be done in steps. Here is the route I have found most helpful in the past, but now that is written down I think it will be easier to go down the checklist; hopefully you will find this helpful for you too. Though before you read this steps, I want to make an important note: After each editing step, you have to go through the revision process, meaning once you are done with editing step 1, you should make the changes/amends/alterations you have made notes regarding. I have learned from many personal mistakes, including ones made literally today as of just a few moments ago (which is what ultimately drove me to write this article). As a result after each step I wrote the word revision to remind you (when it is necessary) to go back through step 4 of the writing process. Now, finally, here is the editing process that I have greatly benefited from in the past:
1: The first most important thing is to read your story all the way through and try to only focus on your story, trying to turn off all other thoughts of change. Unless you notice something you want to make immediate note of, try not to mark up in this first round—the purpose of this step is to gain insight regarding "what the text is about, what it involves, where it's going and so on" (Krueger).
Revision2: Read it again. This time checking to "make sure the structure of the text makes sense. Is the information in the right order? Does it flow from one idea to the next easily and smoothly? Is everything clearly explained? Are there unanswered questions? Is any information missing" (Krueger)?
Revision3: Read it again. This time remove redundancies, trim wordy text and aim to cut down on length. Also check that "none of the other editing has introduced gaps in the story or errors" (Krueger). Note that "once the writer has answered any open questions and filled in any gaps in the story, some paragraphs might need updating" (Krueger).
Revision4*: This is the tedious final reading stage when you are doing meticulous checking for typos, punctuation and grammar errors, etc. Basically you want to "Check everything. Verify names and titles. Check dates and locations. Do the math. Check summaries of reports, data or research against the original information. Check all sources" (Krueger).
Revision5: Now is the time you can play around with fonts, redo your chapter titles, re-configure your headers to make them as fancy or as basic as possible, and all that other fun stuff.
(no revision process is generally necessary here as these changes are typically being made directly to the document on the computer)
Once you have finished step 5 of the editing process, you are now ready to go to final step of the writing process— #5: Publishing! Congratulations—you are now on your way to becoming an established author.
* All steps marked by an asterisk are not made up of my own words but were in fact taken directly from other sites. My citations below are as follows:
- Wikipedia. Revision (writing). 27 June 2016, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revision_(writing).
- University of Toronto, Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. Revising, Editing and Proofreading. Engineering Communication Program, 2017, ecp.engineering.utoronto.ca/online-handbook/the-writing-process/revising-editing-and-proofreading/.
- Krueger, Vicki. Fundamentals of Editing: The Editing Process. Poynter. A Global Leader in Journalism, 28 Mar. 2016, www.poynter.org/2016/fundamentals-of-editing-the-editing-process/403772/.