Editing a Manuscript

Jan HaasOur new team member Jan Haas has provided this guest post.

Editing a manuscript doesn’t just mean checking for spelling and grammatical errors.  The editing process starts at the beginning, with a good outline.  Mapping out chapters and sections of your manuscript will go a long way in making sure your information is organized in a concise, easy to read format and that you have information relative to your topic.  Content editing will add structure and flow to your written piece, and will help you connect to the message you are working to convey to your reader.

Although I know people say never disrupt the flow of consciousness, I am an “edit-as-you-go type of person.  I will write an essay for my book, and rearrange sentences in the middle of the writing process.  I think this comes from writing poetry as a teenager. I was constantly re-arranging lines to make a poem flow, and it has carried over into other forms of written work.

Once I have a piece written, I will go back and read the essay out loud, listening for flow and checking for mistakes.  If the words sound choppy, or if the ideas don’t flow, I will edit on the spot.  For me, this is a natural process because I have been doing it for so long.

In my particular case, editing coincides with the writing process, but that isn’t true for everyone.  Some people write an entire manuscript without re-reading and editing along the way. I know that many people do not like the editing process, and they need someone to help them.

There is no real right or wrong way to edit a written piece.  But know that editing isn’t just about spelling and grammar.  It is about how a written piece conveys a feeling, and how the flow directs the reader to follow an intended path.

Starting with a map or outline of your manuscript is a big step in the editing process that many people overlook, yet it is a key step in making the content edit much easier.

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