Carolyn’s ready to help you fight your editing woes!
I love editing. There, I’ve said it.
The same thrill and compulsion that helps writers get words on the page helps me to edit those words and make them shine their brightest. Not everyone shares my love of editing and, to be honest, some days even I don’t know what I see in it. When I get particularly stuck,I do my best to embrace it. I try to use the mental block to its full advantage because when I’m not enamored with the task in front of me, I do it differently. In the case of editing, I am more likely to recognize patterns in the work.
I’ve started building a checklist from these patterns. I want to share it with you because as much as I like editing, I know how frustrating it can be to edit your own work. Even on good days it can be hard to see anything other than what you expected to be there, or recognize implied meanings you didn’t intend. Checklists help to not just find repeated errors and avoid overuse, but also to divorce the emotion from the work to see its core.
My intention here, going forward, is to give you the tools you need to discern the more common mistakes, stylistic accidents, and unconscious ticks. I want to document the stranger quirks and difficulties: where to use apostrophes; checking hyphenation; what really happens when you choose certain punctuation; and how to use a style guide. And I’ll definitely talk about the information I go looking for too, like where to go to confirm and re-confirm… and re-re-confirm if this should be affect… or effect.
I want to help you build your own checklist that you can use when you’re assessing your work. I’ll also give you examples to practice with, and tips to find further resources. We editors will help catch you (and your mistakes) when you fall, but recognizing your own tendencies helps you see what can be fixed and gives you a head start. This, in turn, gives us the freedom to help you further refine which can mean only one thing: a better finished work.