Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Editing Pyramid

As some of you may already know, I've been revising as of late. Editing and me? We're like this. *crosses fingers together* Yeah. So, in celebration, I thought I'd talk about the different types of editing and what I think of as the Editing Pyramid.
Harken, the mighty Pyramid of Editing
Yeah, I know. That's a rocking graphic there. Anyway, it reads like most pyramid-shaped diagrams, but let me get into the nitty-gritty of the different types of edits, so you can understand it even better.

Global Edits
  • What are they?
    These are the major edits. I'm talking the kind of edits where you realize where you need to kill off a major character during the mid-story climax. Or re-write the entire story from a different character's POV. Global edits are exactly what they sound like: large edits that will affect your entire manuscript.
  • How do I approach them?
    Critique partners are awesome for ideas when it comes to global edits, but you can always tackle them on your own. I like to re-read my entire manuscript and take notes on what plot points do and don't work. Then it's all about shifting through your work and applying those changes.
Line Edits
  • What are they?
    Ever heard about the writer that stared a sentence for hours, trying to figure out whether to use one adjective or the other? Or the writer who re-wrote the same paragraph three different ways? Well that's what line edits are all about: making all the little parts of manuscript beautiful.
  • How do I approach them?
    Line edits can be a bit time consuming, but that's not a bad thing. Read your writing, and then read it again. Read it out loud for flow. Question the voices of your characters and be picky about your verbs. Remove superfluous words like "that" and "just." Pretend you're weeding a garden and keep yanking until you can't find anything else to pull.
  • What are they?
    This is where we focus our editing laser eye-beams and pick out the tiniest errors. You know how you've been misspelling "soldiers" as "soliders" for the entire manuscript? Not to mention the fact that every day of your book is Friday and your love interest's shirt keeps changing color. That's what copyedits do: catch all of the minor mistakes.
  • How do I approach them?
    Read your manuscript and pick out as many typos and inconsistencies as you can. Then get someone else to read your manuscript and beg them to stare it down. Try reading aloud and see if you stumble over anything glaringly wrong. Copyedits are slippery beasts.

So there you go, the three basic types of editing: global, line, and copy. Does that pyramid make more sense now? It's all about scope. Global edits affect your entire manuscript, line edits focus on small chunks of it, and copyedits are super tiny changes.

Now, I'm partial to line editing (obsessive about verbs? not me . . .), but what about you guys? Have you gone through all three types of editing and do you have a favorite? Or is there a fourth branch of editing that I've completely spaced on? Tell me in the comments!