Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Be Your Own Editor

Put Yourself Through My Fact and Fiction Workshop 

(This workshop was developed with writer Hannah Juby who edits articles and university theses, We thought that editing fact and fiction had much in common and developed the workshop with this in mind.)

The Process

Micro-editing - examining text line by line, word by word, to ensure accuracy, flow, clarity and style.

Macro-editing – considering the text in terms of structure, purpose (is it clear what the text is trying to achieve; does it achieve this?), development of argument/story, appropriate connections, clear communication, appropriate evidence/details, style, etc.)

Editing on the page
Amendments may be written:
·         onto a hard copy of the document;
·         inserted on-screen into an electronic version of the document, using a programme such as ‘Tracked Changes’ on Microsoft Word.
·         notes on a separate piece of paper, rather than having crossings-out etc. on the document itself.

  • Before you begin editing, quickly read through the whole document.
  • Keep a clean copy of the chapter whether hard copy or electronic, and create a new copy on which to make notes, suggestions and corrections.
  • On hard copy, always make remarks etc. in pencil rather than in pen. (Still amenable to alterations) .
  • On-screen, using a programme like ‘Tracked Changes’     enables you to see all insertions and deletions. The changes aren’t final until accepted or rejected by you in the final copy.
  • You will be more effective in editing your own work if you can make it seem strange to yourself, so that you can be more objective about it. A good way of doing this is to leave it for  some time before coming back to it. (This is not always possible, I know.)
  • Make a written summary (or footnotes/comments in an on-screen edit) as aide-memoires for the next stage. It might be useful to get someone else to do this for you if you are editing your own work.
  • Discussing the document with an outsider will help you to clarify your basic concept or idea and the overall shape of the work.
  • Consistently mark up passages or sections which impress you and work well in the context of the text as a whole.
  • Then read each chapter in detail using  micro- and macro-editing, applying your preferred approach.

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