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Grammar Editing Tips 
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Post Grammar Editing Tips
I know that editing is a very subjective process, and everybody has their own style and approach to it.

What is your particular approach when it comes to editing for grammar?

I currently leave grammar edits until last, I first send the manuscript out to Beta Readers, and wait for their comments. Work those into it, and then settle into the finer grammar points at the very end.

It is then just a case of me going through line by line and checking for things. I would love to be able to create a more efficient system.

I know some people have said edit backwards, so you don't necessarily get caught in the story your head is telling you, but only in the words on the page. Has anybody ever tried that?



Wed Jan 02, 2013 8:12 am
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Post Re: Grammar Editing Tips
AlexLaybourne wrote:
I know some people have said edit backwards, so you don't necessarily get caught in the story your head is telling you, but only in the words on the page. Has anybody ever tried that?


Surprisingly, this actually really works! The only problem is I find it's really tedious reading my book backwards BECAUSE I'm not getting into the story at all. So, I've actually only edited a few pages that way, usually my opening pages because they're so important. But you catch everything this way.

Like you, I save all the grammar, proofing, and spellchecking to the end. From your post, I'm guessing most of the grammar issues you run into in your writing are just mistakes, like typos and such. Because you clearly don't struggle with grammar! :D I find a lot of errors occur when I make changes. Maybe I'll take out only half of a sentence or accidentally leave in a stray preposition.

I miss a lot of this stuff when I'm rereading, because I'm already so familiar with the words I end up skipping over lots of them--and sometimes skipping over the words that shouldn't be there.

This is where family and loved ones really come in handy! While they love you way too much to ever criticize your story (that's what the beta readers are for), they're great at catching typos, accidental spaces before periods, and pronoun disagreement.

Good luck!


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AlexLaybourne
Thu Jan 03, 2013 9:32 pm
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Post Re: Grammar Editing Tips
I am not a writer of books, but writing catalog and advertising copy (boring, yawn) for nearly 20 years teaches you a thing or two. READ EVERY WORD. Don't read the story, read EACH INDIVIDUAL word. Slowly. You'll find most of your errors that way. It's hard to do, but it works. If you find yourself reading sentences instead of words, take a break and come back later. Also, get a style guide (Franklin Covey or something) and use it. RELIGIOUSLY. I think it's normal for writers to be overly proud of their own work, sort of like a new parent, but get over yourself. Be ruthless in your editing, and your work will be all the better for it.



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Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:37 pm
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Post Re: Grammar Editing Tips
Thanks Dan, I am going to give the whole backwards editing thing a try. As you say, a lot of mistakes creep with when the time comes to remove sentences and the like. Also, living in Holland, I find myself using the odd dutch word here and there. En, is a big one, instead of 'and' and 'of' in place of 'or'.

I am glad you think my grammar is good, the editor on my novel found a few mistakes but nothing too out of this world.

My plan this year is to improve the speed of my editing without becoming sloppy. I have a lot of back work to edit, short story collections, and a novel, but also need to write two full (100,000+) novels before December too, and have them fully edited.



Last edited by AlexLaybourne on Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Jan 04, 2013 1:49 am
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Post Re: Grammar Editing Tips
kelstan wrote:
I am not a writer of books, but writing catalog and advertising copy (boring, yawn) for nearly 20 years teaches you a thing or two. READ EVERY WORD. Don't read the story, read EACH INDIVIDUAL word. Slowly. You'll find most of your errors that way. It's hard to do, but it works. If you find yourself reading sentences instead of words, take a break and come back later. Also, get a style guide (Franklin Covey or something) and use it. RELIGIOUSLY. I think it's normal for writers to be overly proud of their own work, sort of like a new parent, but get over yourself. Be ruthless in your editing, and your work will be all the better for it.


Word by word is actually a very sensible piece of advice, but not one I had thought of before. Thanks for the tip.



Fri Jan 04, 2013 3:50 am
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