Wednesday, November 28, 2018

My Favorite Things About Editing

It's almost December, so I am definitely feeling in the holiday mood. The Sound of Music is my favorite movie. One of its songs, "My Favorite Things," is often played around the holidays, so I thought I would use that theme to discuss my favorite things about editing.

Editing Makes Us Think

I don't edit as I go. My goal: get to the end as quickly as possible. That first draft might wind up dreadful, but it's done. When I sit down to edit, the thinking cap comes on. Is this the best word? How many words are overused? Does this sentence clearly communicate what I meant? What can I cut? Where should I add? It's the deep thinking of editing that makes the story stronger.

Editing Helps Us Better Understand Characters

In the world of fan fiction, if you write a storyline that doesn't stay true to a character, you'll hear about it. A reader of one of your stories might not take kindly to sweet ole Ida, who they have adored for twenty chapters, pushing the minister down the stairs or cursing up a storm when she slams her finger in the door. The reader will be scratching her head and wondering what the heck happened.

Editing gives you the time to consider the actions of your characters. In the middle of a situation, do their actions make sense? Take time to understand why they do what they do. If they are acting in an unusual manner, what has happened? Will that character's response be realistic to the reader?

Editing Helps with Fact Checking

As a writer of historical fiction, accuracy is important to me. If it's Christmastime in America -- before fancy wrapping paper was regularly used in the United States -- my character better not be opening a gift wrapped in shiny paper with a glossy bow on it. Writers can tweak history here and there, but readers of this genre have an expectation that proper research has been performed. Should the flow of writing be stopped to fact check? Who knows what rabbit hole that will lead you into. Highlight areas that need fact checking, and use the editing stage to iron out those details.

Hopefully, this has shown you some great advantages to the editing process. What do you enjoy most about editing? What are areas you struggle with?

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving and the recently released, Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at

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