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Old 02-12-2019, 11:17 PM   #1
neolim
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Looking to learn how to edit

Hi,
I'm new to this forum.

Wanted to ask if there are any good sources on editing?

Right now I can't afford an editor for my writings and would generally like to improve myself.

Could you recommend any MOOKs (Massive Open Online Course) or sites/books on editing?

Thank you

Last edited by neolim : 02-14-2019 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:53 AM   #2
thewinedarksea
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Editing is a big field. It covers lots of different ways of working with authors and texts. What type of editing are you interested in?

Developmental editing: working on overall concept and structure of a project.

Substantive editing: improving style, readability, presentation and organization.

Copy/Line editing: dealing with nuts-and-bolts stuff like grammar, spelling, transitions, formatting, accuracy.

Once you know exactly what part of the skillset you want to work on first, it becomes easier to recommend books and resources.
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Old 02-13-2019, 01:55 AM   #3
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Editing

You need to contact sr71plt. He's a professional editor who most likely steer you in the right direction. I'm a volunteer editor who has been editing since 2014 on Literotica. I edit each story twice so that when I return the story to its author it's as clean as possible. I use an old-fashioned dictionary to check spelling and if a word is hyphenated, all one word or two separate words. I never trust spellcheck as it only tells a person if the word they used is spelled correctly, not if it's the word the author meant to use. An editor reviews the plot and character development, flow and consistency.
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Old 02-13-2019, 03:17 AM   #4
sr71plt
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I took a year's certificate university program in book editing in the typewriter, hardcopy editing era--and after having worked in a news agency and edited for more than two decades before that, so I would have to research how to approach learning the skills in the computer era before being much of a help. I adapted to editing in the computer era, of course, and do that now, but I didn't take comprehensive courses in doing it; I learned on the job. Here's a resource to start with, though, which has been updated for use now and which includes a bibliography on how to approach your question comprehensively:

Editing Fact and Fiction: A Concise Guide to Book Editing, by Leslie T. Sharpe and Irene Gunther.

https://www.amazon.com/Editing-Fact-...sr=1-4-catcorr

Taking professional courses in it would, of course, be the best training.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:06 AM   #5
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First of all I want to thank you all.

Sr71plt I will order the book next month (I am a student so I have to wait a bit) and go over it.

Thewinedarksea I think I want to focus on substantive editing mostly, I feel like this is what my stories lack...

Took me some time but I accept that spellcheck only gets you so far.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neolim View Post
Hi,
I'm new to this forum.

Wanted to ask if there are any good sources on editing?

Right now I can afford an editor for my writings and would generally like to improve myself.

Could you recommend any MOOKs (Massive Open Online Course) or sites/books on editing?

Thank you
Dear Wannabe, THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by Wm Strunk & E.B. White . . . a thin book that covers everything, aka "The Little Book." It's a free PDF, down-loadable, the link to which I won't provide you, because . . .

The Editorís Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.

Last edited by _Lynn_ : 02-14-2019 at 04:34 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 03:51 AM   #7
neolim
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MilkFountain what's wrong with you? Just asked for help, there is no need for insults.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:06 AM   #8
MilkFountain
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Originally Posted by neolim View Post
MilkFountain what's wrong with you? Just asked for help, there is no need for insults.
The Editorís Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.

Last edited by _Lynn_ : 02-14-2019 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 02-14-2019, 05:43 AM   #9
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In my mind, editing for yourself (and I understand that this is just what you want), can be imroved in a few ways.

1) Knowing grammar very well. Thankfully, it's pretty straightforward.
2) Using software to help you do the technical editing. MS word (or google docks) will help you somewhat, but there're also software applications that let you catch other types of stylistic mistakes - like using the same word several times in a row, or switching between clauses in your narration.
3) Next step is really more about writing than editing. Obviously you can't give yourself plot/structure suggestions, but you can learn to properly structure your books. Read up on Heroe's Journey, different types of drama like Greek Drama structure, read about the proper pacing of a good story, and try to incorporate those elements into your writing. This helps a lot, I think.
4) lastly, read a lot. Read authors who you think write a very high quality text - like Pratchett or Stephen King. Nor every bestseller author is a good writer from technical point of view - for example Rowling may have written an amazing fiction, but her writing skills are IMO mediocre at best and leave a lot to be desired. You can still learn a lot from her books, but not the writing style.
This is a very important step. The more you read good text - the easier it is for you to see bad style and fix it.
5) I also try to learn a new word every day. This may not seem like a lot, but it's easy and it really stacks up over time. The more words you know - the better you express yourself.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by MilkFountain View Post
If you'rel so careless and lazy that you CAN'T even correct the fourth word in your third sentence above, you're probably hopeless -- undeserving of more than the reference I've given you above. (Please, a PM from you to me won't arrive.)
If you're going to pour shit on some innocent poster, you'd better be squeaky fucking clean yourself. At least the OP got to the third sentence - you couldn't get past the SECOND word.
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Old 02-14-2019, 06:59 AM   #11
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MilkFountain
Ahem. That's a forum, not a literate piece. I often don't correct my posts at all on the forums, leaving all the typos and even misspelled words. Why? Because I can't be bothered. Because I know that people will understand and see through it. Does that mean that I would ave left the same errors in my actual text? No. I would have caught them. To begin with, I would have written it in MS word and got it underlined.

What you did isn't criticism. What you did is blatant and uncalled for attack onto someone, using a very far-fetched argument as a base for that attack.
Even more than that, you actually attack that person's feeling of self worth directly, stating that he's hopeless based on the typo in a forum post.

Not to mention, even the best authors, who publish their novels in hard-cover paper books, who have an editor (or sometimes even several other people) read through their manuscripts... Even with all of that there are typos in books. And yet, they somehow make a living off of it. Saying that a typo ANYWHERE means you're automatically hopeless as an editor - is bullshit.
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Old 02-14-2019, 07:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkFountain View Post
If you'rel so careless and lazy that you CAN'T even correct the fourth word in your third sentence above, you're probably hopeless -- undeserving of more than the reference I've given you above. (Please, a PM from you to me won't arrive.)
Right on. People who make posts with spelling mistakes and typos should be ridiculed and driven away from this forum...

Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkFountain View Post
I think Claudius Ceasar's wife, Messalina, said it all in about 38 A.D.: "The only aphrodisiac a man needs is a good woman."

...

I was witness to his climaxing several times but, like my wife, don't remember exactly how many. For her, she said, it was not his climaxes but his staying power, never leaving her bored, as long bouts with me in the past ha.
...oops. Forget I said anything :-)
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Old 02-14-2019, 09:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neolim View Post
Hi,

I'm new to this forum. Wanted to ask if there are any good sources on editing?
I was very lucky. A couple of months after I first submitted stories I was contacted by another writer and asked if I would be their proof reader. They had only begun submitting a few months before me and I found them by chance, read and liked their work, and made positive comments. They were a much better writer than myself and, although my writing has improved, they still are a better writer. They contacted me because my comments were positive and ďyou arenít there just for the sex.Ē

We have been of help to each other and now itís not just the proof reading but about the stories themselves.

So if my experience is anything to go by I would suggest that you firstly read other writers work in the category that you want to write in. Learn from those that actually know how to spell etc. Make comments. Be constructive and positive with your comments.

When your own knowledge has improved you could contact a writer whose work you really like and offer your services. It isnít going to cost them anything and they can only say ďno.Ē You might even be as lucky as me and have a better writer than yourself contact you.

Best of luck. At least youíve been positive with this post. You donít have to be a great writer to see mistakes in other writers work. Sometimes you are so close to your own work you canít see the wood for the trees.
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Old 02-14-2019, 01:50 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilkFountain View Post
Dear Wannabe, THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by Wm Strunk & E.B. White . . . a thin book that covers everything, aka "The Little Book." It's a free PDF, down-loadable, the link to which I won't provide you, because . . .

The Editorís Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.
The "Elements of Style" is for high school essays (as Turabian is for college work). That's not the same as commercial fiction. "Elements" provides good, basic stuff to know at the rudimentary level--better help that not knowing at all. When you get to writing and editing commercial fiction, you have to forget some of that, though, as too limiting and not for fiction. When you get into the nitty-gritty of style, you can't avoid using The Chicago Manual of Style for American publishing.

The best way to get into what the OP wants to do is to find a basic editing class at a community college nearby. Even there, you won't be getting far into editing for commercial fiction, but it will start building toward that. As you gain knowledge, latch into the Editorial Freelancers Association (https://www.the-efa.org/).

sr71plt/keithd

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Old 02-14-2019, 04:41 PM   #15
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Let's play nice, people. If you don't have anything worth adding to the discussion, move on.


The Editorís Forum is for authors and editors to discuss issues related to editing stories. People are forgetting this. It's not a place for personal arguments, attacks, or discussions not related to editing stories.
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Old 02-16-2019, 01:13 PM   #16
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May I suggest The Elements of Editing: A Modern Guide for Editors and Journalists by Arthur Plotnik.

It's from the publishers of The Elements of Style. As the title indicates, it's slanted primarily for non-fiction and journalism, but there is much of interest to the writer and editor of fiction as well.
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Old 02-16-2019, 04:50 PM   #17
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As an author, a book Iíve found helpful is ĎThe Copy Editorís Handbook,í by Amy Einsohn (3rd edition). Now Iím not trying to become a copy editor, but that type of editing is the bulk of what I need from a volunteer editor. Itís very much a detailed dive into the minutiae of that skill set.

Since Iím expecting a VE to slog through one of my manuscripts for free, I figure that the more I know about how to avoid things that would require them to stop and fix an issue of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, etc., the easier their task is Ė and it might free up their time to do more subtle edits of word choice, narrative flow, character development, dialog, and so forth.

The book does show how to manually mark up a m/s, which is likely an archaic skill for your purposes in this era of using MS Word track Changes, but thatís only a small part of the content. The book should be available from any big city library, although you may encounter reference copies rather than circulation copies.
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