November 18, 2013

The Three Steps of Editing

I’ve touched on this subject before, but it bears repeating.  Before you submit work to an editor, it should be reviewed and then edited.  When I get fiction submissions for Kid's Imagination Train that lack conflict or have so much dialogue that the plot fails to move forward, I can guarantee that the writer did not edit her work. The same goes for poetry.  If a poem lacks perfect rhyme or the meter is off, I willing to bet the piece wasn't edited. 

There are three easy steps to editing:
The first step is to read your work aloud.  Come on.  No one is looking or listening.  Read what you’ve written.  How is the pace?  Does it drag in parts or does it move along like a flowing stream?  Have you chosen the perfect words or do you stumble on a few?  Is the rhythm of a poem consistent or is it choppy?   

The second step is to find someone you trust—a good friend, a spouse, an office mate, anyone who you feel would give you an honest opinion.  Listen to what they suggest.  You don’t have to follow all of their suggestions, but at least consider them.  Try them out in a revision to see if your story or article reads better. 

The third step is making the necessary changes to improve your work.  Getting an article, story, or poem right the first time is nearly impossible.  So consider putting the manuscript aside for a few days and reading it again with fresh eyes.  Then when you return to it, tweak it.  It may take multiple drafts to come up with a piece that is ready for submission.

Reading your work aloud, having someone else proof your work, and editing your work pays off.  You’ll end up with a better story or a fabulous poem.  Failure to do so will more than likely win you a rejection.  Editors have an uncanny sense of knowing if your work has been reviewed and revised.  Don’t even think you can submit without editing.  You can't fool them.  

So why take the chance of having an editor reject your work?  If you put the time to create and write for children, then take a little more time to make it the best it can be. 

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