How I Edit
14 October 2013
Inspired by this post from John Adamus, I thought I’d share the process that I use when editing a manuscript.
First, I start reading the manuscript. Ideally, I do a full read-through without making any changes. If the document is grammatically rough (read: lots of errors), then my first pass includes some grammar correction.
The next pass involves digging into the manuscript section by section. I flag particularly troublesome sections with a comment and leave them for now.
Next, I’ll choose a few troublesome sections and rework them. These are the spots that the author was either very muddy in communicating their topic or that don’t flow well (intra-section).
After this, I’ll do a pass for inter-section flow. I ensure that the author present topics in a coherent manner, and that sections build upon each other. By the end of the document, a reader should have a good holistic view of what the author is trying to say.
I usually do a final pass before sending the manuscript back to catch any errors I might have made. I try to include an overview comment that points out the author’s tendencies and weak spots. If I thought a section or concept was very good, I leave a positive comment so that the author doesn’t just see negativity in red ink everywhere.