Craft Monday: How to edit yourself

There are few things we love at Edward Allen more than getting brand-new submissions.  Just like every other avid reader, we love discovering new authors and reading new stories. Each is a promise of adventure waiting to unfold.

When a submission doesn’t pan out, we’re disappointed.  More often than not, there is a problem with the writing, either the author’s grasp of basic story-telling or underdeveloped skills with the mechanics of writing. (Writing a great story isn’t easy. It  only looks easy to the reader when it’s done well.)

Even worse than basic lack of skill are submissions filled with errors. Sure, we know they’re easily fixed, but they scream to us that the author didn’t care enough to polish the submission. And if the author didn’t care, should we?

It’s been a while since we’ve posted regular tips on writing, but we’re getting back to it, starting with Craft Mondays, a weekly tip about (surprise, surprise!) writing craft/mechanics, grammar, plot and characterization.

This week we’re addressing self-editing and the need to catch errors before you submit your work. If you feel the need for improvement in this area, read on.

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Alicia Dean, one the authors from our upcoming Halloween anthology, writes a weekly craft blog called “Two-Minute Tuesdays,” named for the brevity of the post and (of course) the day it publishes. Dean is not only a talented author but an editor as well. We love her down-to-earth style and common-sense advice presented in a way that’s easy to grasp. Check out Alicia Dean’s Two-Minute Tuesday Editing Yourself.

From American Journalism Review, Jessica Eggert offers copy-editing advice for reporters posting without the safety net of an editor.  We think these tips apply equally well to authors. One of the lines we like best:  “Think about the readers and how annoyed they will be by errors.” So true. Readers really (really) don’t like errors, even the smallest. Learning to edit and proofread your own work is a skill every author should develop.

For a bigger picture view, editor Sandra Miller (via Lifehack.org) published her take on this with “Insights from an Editor: Tips for Self-Editing. “Favorite quote:   “…(I)t’s not your editor’s job to worry about your spelling and grammar. It’s yours!”

We hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Please stop back next week for another tip on grammar or the craft of writing.