What to Expect During Editing


Build A Great Writer-Editor Relationship


Lesson Info

What to Expect During Editing

What to expect during editing. We're gonna start off with style guides. Every project should have a style guide. I see people nodding. Are we familiar with these? Yes, fantastic. So, these are a set of standards that help guide editorial decisions. They can be general, or they could be specific and they're always a starting point. Very often, you'll develop a house style or a style sheet that modifies this style as necessary. So, the general and the most commonly used ones are the Chicago Manual of Style and the Associated Press, or AP, Stylebook. I'm sure many of you have actually heard of the Chicago Manual of Style. It's one of the most comprehensive style guides out there. It's absolutely fantastic. It's one of the most widely used and it's because it covers so much information. If you need, to find the answer to something, it's very likely that the Chicago Manual of Style will tell you. Matter of fact, I really highly recommend if you don't already have it, it's only $40 a year fo...

r an online membership, an online subscription. And you have access to the Q and A, to all sorts of forums. There's so many endless resources available through the Chicago Manual of Style. The other is the Associated Press. So, for people who love the Chicago Manual of Style, it's typically because it covers nearly everything. People who like the AP Stylebook, it's because they have all the freedom, to kind of, make decisions on their own. The AP Stylebook is journalism based. So, it was needed for quick copy and under deadlines. And so it only touches on really big things. If you're working in a specialized field on a specialized piece, we've got specialized guides. Medicine, psychology, arts and humanities, STEM. Have law, government, just general writing. I highly recommend Garner's Modern American Usage because it talks about specific words and how to use them and in what situations. And beyond that, if you're writing for the web, check out Buzzfeed Style Guide. It has a lot of tips for how to be writing in the current climate. And I also always highly recommend visiting the Conscious Style Guide. This is in the vein of looking for sensitivity readers. Checking to make sure the terms they're using are appropriate and respectful. There's a lot of times where, language might be ableist and it wasn't intended. For example, there was just a discussion in editing group about being wheelchair bound. And how people in wheelchairs don't prefer that. They're not bound to the wheelchair. It's a device of freedom. It helps them move into the world. And so, the conscious style guide is a fantastic place to be checking for these resources. All right. We've got a style guide we've picked, we really know it for our project, we're gonna build a style sheet. This is a project-specific collection of style notes. This is going to include anything that's an alternate or different, difficult spelling. So, maybe you don't wanna use the version of a spelling that's the most common one in Merriam Webster. That's okay, but, add it to the style sheet. Any branding decisions or guidance if you're working on corporate or government writing. How does this logo have to appear? If there's a reference or a source in your story, put it in your style sheet. It's gonna need to be verified. The correct spelling, the correct citation. Names, character lists, if you're working on a sprawling fantasy epic, this can include maps. It can include names of animals and other nonhuman characters. So, anything that's unique to your project, that's gonna need to be clarified will go in a style sheet. All right. And next we're going to talk about queries. How many people have worked with queries with an editor before? Fantastic. Queries is how the editor is gonna communicate with you. They're gonna communicate concerns. They're gonna clarify why they made a revision. And they're gonna offer suggestions. Now, when an editor is giving you these queries, they always need to highlight the section being addressed. And they should be direct, they should be easy to understand and they should clearly outline a section or ask a focused question. "This doesn't work to me "because it seems like you meant XYZ." "Is that correct?" Here is an actual example. This has tracked changes in it as well, but we've got queries saying, "I revised this for consistent tone." Here, even though we address this later, I have concerns about this piece and here's why. Another one. This article has been edited throughout to be correct. This is why tracked changes and queries from your editor will look like. So, as a writer, you can respond directly in the file. You can just hit reply and type your notes. "I actually meant this to say, thank you for catching." Or, "I do like the way this is written. "We want to leave this." You can compose answers in an email. Or you can simply act on the query and move on. These present an opportunity for the writer to defend to the choice they made. Maybe the way you use this term is key to the voice in your piece. Say, "I know this is incorrect, but look at how I use it "and the lyrical feel we get from this." You can learn. You can say, "Oh, I didn't realize that that adjective "used this way was incorrect." But engaging fully in the query process strengthens the relationship. It shows everyone's involved. And it really helps the understanding between both parties. I view queries as an ongoing conversation with my writers. "Hey, I have this question." "Oh, this is what you meant, fantastic." "I really loved this section of writing." That's fantas... this is one of my favorite pieces. After you go through the quering stage, everything's been resolved, you're gonna review and accept the edits. Now, I like to provide two copies to my writers as an editor. I like to give one file that shows everything. Everything I did when I touched this document is there in the track changes option. And then I do another where I accept all those changes and you can see only the comments. Some editors make hidden changes and these are strictly formatting things, like, two spaces after a period, changing 'em to one. That'll be a very big page of red to see those. Others, changing hyphens to end dashes, very small things. But you can also request for those to be visible as well. You can review each individual change. And either approve it or reject it. So, when you're looking at these, it can feel overwhelming. Like, you saw that other page. That was a lot of text. That was a lot of strike through text and new underlined words to replaced it. I always recommend looking at a clean copy. Turn the changes off. See only what the editor suggests. And pick up your original piece and read them side by side. See what they've changed without focusing on the details just yet. And go through any comments. Then, when you go to the actual tracked changes version, it's easier to see which changes you agree with and which ones you don't. You'll be able to see revisions differently in different programs. Microsoft Word is the most common for anything in text. PDF is the most common for anything that's gonna be print ready. So, for a proofread. And you'll have the same options to approve, or you know, not accept any of these edits along the way. So, here we have the beginning of a memoir. And this was just the tracked changes version. And if you look at it, with a clean copy. It's much easier to compare. Now, if you pull your original out and put it next to the clean copy, you'll be able to see how it reads differently as a whole. With this one on the left, it's easier to see what little things have changed, buy not overall how the piece is different. All right. Next, we're going to finalize this work. We're gonna get a final approval. Gonna talk about, as we discuss the final payments, make sure everything's in place, we know how the process is ending. We know if we have any questions. Maybe something comes up when you're looking through the file later. Has the editor decided they can engage on this with you? Make sure everything is discussed and then get ready to prepare for the next stage. You're ready to move on if you've got this edit complete, you're ready to take this file and look for a proofread. Or if your proofread is done, you're ready to look for an agent, or submit it to a journal, or get it ready out there in the world. Where can people get a hold of you, stay in touch with you? Absolutely. You can find me on Twitter sharing all sorts of writing tidbits that I think are interesting. And then at my website justthewritetype.com. And then on Facebook, Heather E. That's me. (laughs) And wherever you find the orange hair. Yeah, if you see this, it's me. (class laughs) I'm the orange editor.

Class Description

Even after you’ve put the finishing touches on your piece, the writing process is far from finished. Most written works are edited by a professional editor before being published or posted. While a few writer-editor relationships turn adversarial or combative, most are cooperative and constructive and help make the work the best it can be.

Experienced writer, editor and proofreader Heather Saunders will explain the different types of editing, outline the editorial process and offer guidance on how to navigate the editorial relationship. Armed with an in-depth understanding of how editing works and what editors do, writers will be able to avoid the pitfalls of being unprepared.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Set a budget and timeline with your editor before the editing process begins.
  • Pick the right editor for your project by looking at their certifications, experience and views on editing.
  • Determine the level of editing your need.
  • Understand the different types of editing, including developmental, copy editing and proofreading.
  • Know what to expect at each stage of process, including resolving queries, reviewing and accepting edits, and using style sheets.