red pen on paperThe goal of editing should be to round out the story you intended to tell, and of course to clean up your prose.

Editing is not a straightforward process, and for as many times as there are set rules, style and voice are equally important.

Your story is your story, and no one knows it better than you.

There is something to be said for editors, which I feel strongly about considering I am one. We’re a necessary evil, but not the be-all-end-all. The only person who can put words on a page to tell a story is a writer – an editor is not the only person who can give a writer valuable feedback.

Here is where you can find information on the editing process, and what to seek out just as much as what to avoid.

Be sure to check out:

First Chapter Workshop Recap

There will be a series of blog posts, starting with this one, that are all about editing your first chapter. The workshop this past weekend was a great success, and thanks again to those who were able to come out. I put together a quick downloadable sheet with the major highlights from the seminar. Here […]


Author Mistake: Shaking your audience’s faith in the Protagonist (a lesson from Iron Fist)

Netflix and Marvel have been teaming up to offer some lesser known comic heroes and heroines a chance at the spotlight. They’ve given us Daredevil (2 seasons), Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and now, Iron Fist. Say what you will about the first three because although they have flaws, they definitely have a solid story structure […]


Balancing Conflict and Continuity for a Better Story

There are four key elements we’re going to focus on. Characters. Conflict. Execution. Continuity. Those elements are linked together and depend on each other to get your story from start to finish. It’s important to realize that they also work in layers. Characters are what we expect, the actors in the story. They’re the good […]


Creating a System for Continuity in Stories

Whether you are writing a short-story, a standalone novel, or a series, continuity matters. Stories that are shorter or have smaller scopes have less potential for continuity problems but are not immune. Learning how to spot continuity errors – and having a method for keeping track of them – is an important skill for any […]


Eliminate Crutch Words, Stand Your Writing on its Own

No matter what project you work on, no matter how many books you have finished or how many stories you have started, every writer uses crutch words. Individually, crutch words are nothing special. It is their frequency and repetition that earn them a special distinction, and knowing what your own crutch words are is an […]


How Many Drafts Does It Take…

How many drafts does it take to have a publishable manuscript? Can any first draft, not matter how rough, be polished enough to be published? If so, where do we start? The answers have less to do with the number of drafts and more to do with what author-skills you have mastered. (As a disclaimer, […]

Emotional Arcs Capture Readers - Writing on Point

Emotional Arcs Capture Readers

Every story has more than one thread running through it. Threads can represent characters, settings, objects, or other tangible / physical items that are part of a story. When threads intersect, there will be changes, usually in the form of character decisions or reactions. It’s important to plot out a story with an eye on […]

Writer vs Self: Chopping Out Prose - Writing on Point

Writer vs Self: Chopping Out Prose

No matter what stage of your writing career you find yourself, one of the hardest lessons to learn is how to cut prose from your stories. Some writers always struggle with it, while others find ways that make them more comfortable with the process – saving chopped writing as cut scenes, alternate endings, or even […]

Turning Multiple Choice Into One Narrative Path - Writing on Point

Turning Multiple Choice Into One Narrative Path

Humans are complex creatures who, while generally consistent, have days where emotions swing more in one direction or another. This goes both for the characters – even if they are elf, alien, etc – and for their writers. Most things in life are not black and white, and that means there’s lots of ways to react to […]

3 Crucial Stages of Editing - Writing on Point

3 Crucial Stages of Editing

There are three crucial stages of editing. Each phase might require one draft, or it may require several. It’s important to go through each stage in order because of the nature of the kinds of things they address in a manuscript. More on that at the end. Stage one is the Structural Critique. This addresses […]


Getting Feedback and How to Use It

When a writer asks “How do I find people who will read my stuff and give me feedback?” they usually mean a few different things. In some cases, it’s that they’re having trouble finding other writers who will give objective, intelligent, and actionable commentary. Other times, it means that they know feedback is usually approached as […]


What Makes a Story Fail

During my Crafting Fiction editing seminar last month, one of the writers who attended asked me this question during the Q&A session: What makes a story fail? It was a question that I didn’t have a ready answer for. My job as an editor is to offer advice and guidance on how to make a story […]


Analyzing Your Story: Turning Point

Turning points are critical to the tension and plot development of any story. They should be related to the overarching Story Goal / Outer Conflict – the big thing that a protagonist ends up facing off against a story’s main antagonist to resolve. It’s important to identify turning points when addressing a 2nd draft, whereas for first […]


How to Pick an Editor: The Basics

Finding the right editor for your stories can take time and needs to be treated like the serious decision it is. It’s a lot like buying a house – the pictures might look great, the price might be a little higher than you’d like although seems like it’s worth it, but you really don’t know anything […]


Your 2nd Draft: More Self Editing Strategies

Before you start any self editing, you’ll need to gather tools to keep yourself notes. This can be on a sticky pad with pens or pencils, maybe paper clips or highlighters to use on the printed out version, in a special notebook dedicated to your novel, or in a digital format like in Word or on Evernote. […]


Your 2nd Draft: Self Editing Strategies

Step one is your read through. The first time you go through your story, or novel, start to finish, cover to cover, doing nothing but taking notes while looking at it through the eyes of a reader. This can be harder said than done. You’ve poured hours of work into a first draft. You wrestled […]


Four Types of Editing

   Any writer worth their salt knows that they’ll need to deal with an editor during their road to publication. It’s also important to know that not all editors have the same job. This is a quick breakdown of who these people are and what they do, so you can make an informed decision for […]