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 ♦  Author: Patrick Witz 1409
 ♦ Categories: Resources

On Editing

Writer's Conference Editing Tips

Writing Great Fiction: Storytelling Tips and Techniques


I attended a conference and several professional published writers offered some important tips regarding Editing. Here is a synopsis of those speakers. Not surprisingly, ONE thing they ALL agreed on ---  EDITING is the most important part of writing.


  • Uses of illusion and metaphors aren’t typically thought of in original drafts. One needs to go back and incorporate them.
  • Do not AVOID editing or being self-critical… NOBODY creates a perfect first draft.
  • GET AN EDITOR: to correct spelling, grammar, punctuation. (YOUR SPOUSE, RELATIVES OR CLOSEST FRIENDS ARE NOT GOOD EDITORS – they will always conscious or subconsciously soften the review – “That’s nice honey!”). Hire an editor or find a writing buddy or writing group, use computer editing programs, have someone or the computer read it back to you, use whoever/whatever is available to help point them out.  It is easy for a writer who has re-read and re-worked their manuscript umpteen times to still not catch their own mistakes. Readers will after noting a couple blatant errors (at least in their eyes), they will write you off as a lousy writer.  
  • GET A CONTENT EDITOR: Who points out problems of the storyline. Same here as before, get another pair of eyes, if not several more, on your manuscript. Ask them to point out problems in flow, characters, settings, dialogue, etc. As a writer, you’d be amazed at what you envision in your head doesn’t stay consistent throughout your manuscript. If your protagonist has a nasty scar over his LEFT eye in Chapter two, it’s easy to reference that scar later over his RIGHT eye in Chapter 10 because the circumstances by Chapter 10 have changed and the scene needs the scar to be on the RIGHT… it’s easy to forget to go back and fix chapter two.  If your antagonist has been frozen in time for a 300 years, don’t allow him to suddenly know how to pick up a machinegun and start shooting people. Readers tend to pick up on the smallest details. Writing is just like the movies, people notice the littlest things: Like the old-west cowboy wearing a wrist watch, or a scene where there’s a stake of pancakes then a blink of an eye later in the next scene, butter has suddenly appeared and is now melting down that same stack of pancakes.
  • Query editors with three sentences: Who you are, What it’s about, Why is it important.
  • Find a good editor: Talk to writer’s groups and other writer’s, get their recommendations as to who they used and who to avoid.  Also check Predators and Editors online.
  • IMPORTANT: Agents and Editors should ALWAYS be separated.  They can’t be both…Agents trying to sell editorial services is bad news.
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