Creative Editor’s Checklist – A Must Have!

proofreading-copyAs an indie author, I use three different editors for my books. I start with what is referred to as a Creative Editor, then a Developmental Editor, and then a Line Editor. Readers today are sophisticated and will not tolerate sloppy editing. They want reading material that is on par with what traditional publisher’s provide.

I’ve spoken about this before, my first round of editing comes from Lura Genz, my creative Editor and she’s also my 84-year old mother. Don’t think that just because we’re blood relatives she gives me any kind of break or goes soft on me… she’s a force to be reckoned with!

What she does in this first round of editing, is check my work for proper tenses, point of view problems, mis-phrasing, over use of certain words, and overall sentence structure. She’ll also catch most of the line editing issues as well. Feel free to comment back with your own tips!

She’s kindly offered up a quick checklist of things a new writer to watch for … here it is:

Simple & Helpful Tips When Proofreading or Editing Your Own, or Another’s, Work:

1. Be open to the task at hand: Maintain a positive, advancing, mood or outlook. Receptive to sudden insights, which could underscore, enhance the author’s intent.

2. Read the draft (i.e., book, chapter, blog, preface, etc.) slowly—sentence by sentence.

3. Either read through the whole doc without editing, for both storyline and/or content; or immediately edit, using a color (like yellow) for each change you make, at the very beginning of the doc.

4. Focus on spelling (corrections – use spellcheck, or even a dictionary, when in doubt); grammar; punctuation; tense consistency (present, past, future).

5. Watch for overuse of certain verbs, like was, had, has, saw, etc. They can be exchanged for more active, descriptive, verbs (i.e., he was running, for he fled).

6. Save doc edits frequently, especially at the end of the day.

7. When finished editing the project, return to the first/beginning page; re-read it through, making new edits or changes where necessary. Check for clarity and meaning. Is the author’s original intent still intact?

8. Then reread it aloud (to yourself) for sentence flow, evenness of tone and/or mood. Use necessary dashes to set off a phrase—for adding emphasis.

9. Remember, when editing for another, it’s their work, not yours.

10. Do the best you can…then let go.

Lura L. Genz

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