What’s In An Edit?


I’ve spent a lot of time editing for friends.  I’ve edited for Storytime Trysts, for friends in the writing community, and for my high school teens.  I am not a professional editor, I am a writer.  My edits tend to be grammar calls, punctuation, sentence structure, and calls on the occasional sentence that just doesn’t make sense.  Once in a while there is a place where I will say ‘ Expand on this!  Or possibly ‘omit this!

Rarely do I make broad sweeping statements Like “What in the world are you thinking?”  I rarely question the author’s motives of why.  My editing is more ‘how’ they do it.  In my online writing groups there has been discussions about this.  It’s hard to get honest feedback from friends because, well your friends want to encourage you and tend to say flowery compliments.  there are times when my ego really needs the boost!  I can always count on a couple of readers to give me glowing comments unless I truly blow it.

My writer friends tend to give me the same type of editing as I give; the semantics, the grammar calls, and the occasional comments like: love this line, explain this better, expand here; where are the sensory details?, and this doesn’t make sense.

I have agreed to read things from people when they ask me to  in order to give them feedback.  WARNING:  if you do this you better ask some questions up front.  Writers are insecure creatures sometimes looking for validation.  giving an edit where a simple ” it shows potential” is wanted.  I gave an edit to a friend in a critique group thinking that she truly wanted a critique.  what she was wanting is a pat on the back, good job, there’s potential in your writing.  My grammar calls were devastating to her fragile ego, she quit coming to our meetings and I felt like a heel.  I ran into her in Wal-Mart, as she tried to shy away from her I took the chance to talk with her and explained.  She is now in full swing in the critique group, more confident than ever.  It wasn’t the right group for me so I’ve moved on.

Seeking validation is something I’ve done, and often got criticism in its place.  Ironically it wasn’t until I decided that I didn’t need anyone elses approval to pursue my dreams that I started getting validation.

I have readers that read my writing and can’t wait for the next installment. Love my readers!  I have writers that read for me with an eye for editing.  I greatly appreciated the tough calls.  I want to improve my writing , make it the best I can so that when  my book is on the shelf no one will feel like it’s a waste of money.

Knowing the questions up front helps me determine how seriously of an edit I am giving.  Is this just a light once over with a general feel?  Then I can give a friendly sandwich critique. compliment/editing calls/ compliment.  If it is a more serious, I really need some feedback sort of thing then I can make a Dagwood sandwich: compliment/edit call, edit call/compliment/ tough calls/ edit calls/ compliment.

This is part of the writing community, working together , getting feedback, giving a helping hand.  We’re all in this together even if at times we view each other as the competition.  At the root of it is the kindred spirit bond that unites us on one front.

I have hosted my friend Ben on here before in  An English Gentleman.  He’s been writing on Storytime for a few months now.  You can check out his blog here, A Road Less Traveled.

Write on my friends, write on!

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2 comments on “What’s In An Edit?

  1. More power to you. I tell people don’t ask me to read/edit unless you really mean it. I’m unable to do pats on the back/validation unless the writing is really good. I try to be kind in tone and encouraging with the edits but ask my opinion and your going to get it. And if I ask for an opinion on my work and get praise when I know the work is not up to snuff I never trust that persons opinion of my work again. Editors at publishing houses are brutal. Readers on Goodreads, Amazon, and book reviewers are also frequently brutal. I feel that being careful with how I’ve worded the edits is a major step up from what writers are going to get elsewhere / later in their publishing journey.

    So yes if what someone wants is validation that their work/plot/storyline is good it is important to be specific about that when asking a friend to look your work over. But the point of a critique group is to critique each others work to help each other make their work be the best it can be.

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    • EXACTLY! I left the critique group because it was a “pat each other on the back” group. Wasn’t my definition of critiqueing, and I wasn’t their idea of a “good” member.
      More often than not new writers just want the validation.

      Like

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