“Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.”  **


After the last two weeks of nose-to-the grindstone work, amid family emergencies and daily crises, the edits on Sword of Jashan are finally done and off to the publisher.

All the effort made me think about editing. Thus, the quote above. Though there is a lot more to editing than proofreading alone.

Editing is a craft, and an art, much like writing in the first place.

Copy-editing is important. Clunky grammar and bad punctuation are confusing. They can force the reader out of the story while she figures out what the writer meant. A good copy-edit can clear all that up and make the story shine.

Aside from errors, other fixes can be as much art as craft. Replacing a word with a better-nuanced one, or deleting an unnecessary sentence, can make the writing as true to the story and the author’s style as possible.

It’s all part of the rewriting process every author goes through. But when you’ve spent months or longer on a story, rewriting it many times through many versions, it’s sometimes hard to catch your own mistakes — especially subtle ones. So it was that I just spent two weeks drowning in my own words, but trying to read as if I had never seen those words before.

Fortunately I had other people’s input to guide me. An editor, a helpful family member, notes from the critique group I belong to.

And finally it’s done!

**Note: This quote was hard to attribute, since it seems as if it’s been around a while. Here is a link to Barry Popik’s site, where he traces its usage.