Editing is an instrumental part of the writing process. So instrumental, in fact, that common wisdom dictates that your story is made in the edits, not in the initial writing.
To get your manuscript publication-ready, you’ll need to edit it…a lot. Editing your manuscript is often more work than writing it in the first place, but that work pays off. An edited manuscript is tight, polished, and ready for readers.
Editing your manuscript isn’t as simple as scanning each page for misspelled words. There are a number of different types of edits you’ll need to do get things up to par. We’ve got some great editing tips for you to try using a tool specifically meant for editing.
How an editing tool can help you get your manuscript in tip-top shape
Here’s how you can use an editing tool to support three of your editing types.
1. Use an editing tool for your copy-edit
A copy-edit pays detailed attention to your use of language throughout your manuscript. The goal of a copy-edit is to address technical flaws within your manuscript, such as mistakes in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and syntax. You’ll also look for consistencies in spelling, hyphenation, jargon, and formatting.
Unlike a line edit, which addresses the way you use language to communicate your story to the reader, the copy-edit ensures that your use of language is technically accurate and consistent.
Using a grammar checker and editing tool like ProWritingAid is a great way to address many of the errors that you’re looking for in a copy-edit. ProWritingAid analyzes your writing and highlights potential improvements. For an in-depth explainer of ProwritingAid’s free and premium versions, check out our full ProwritingAid review.
Reports like the Grammar Report use the latest artificial intelligence to catch thousands of embarrassing text errors. The Grammar Report can show you when you’ve missed a comma, but it also goes further than that, highlighting frequently confused words (such as “adverse” and “averse”) so you can eliminate silly mistakes before you reach your line edit.
Likewise, the Consistency Check highlights cases of inconsistency in spelling, hyphenation, capitalization, and punctuation. That way, you can make sure your work is clean and consistent.
Using an editing tool won’t solve all the copy-editing problems in your manuscript: you’ll still need to work with a human editor to address issues like formatting and font. But by using an editing tool, you can address many copy-editing mistakes yourself, meaning that you’re using your editor’s time (and your money) in the most effective way possible.
2. Use an editing tool for your deep edits
Your manuscript will go through many rounds of editing before it’s done. Near the end of your editing process, you may engage in something called deep edits: when you focus only on one issue and read your manuscript only for that.
Here are some examples of deep editing topics:
- Showing versus telling
- Dialogue tags
If you were doing a deep edit for adverbs, for instance, you would read through your manuscript and identify every instance of adverb usage.
Adverbs are technically wrong, but they can often be replaced with more active writing and are a sign that you might be doing more showing than telling. By eliminating adverbs in favor of stronger verbs, you’ll make your writing better.
Rather than going through your manuscript and underlining all of your adverbs with a red pen, an editing tool can highlight all of your adverbs in one go. The ProWritingAid Writing Style report highlights all of the adverbs in your work and offers suggestions for how to replace them so your writing is stronger.
You can use an editing tool for other deep edits as well, such as identifying sticky sentences, improving readability, and highlighting repeats and echoes.
The key with deep edits (and all edits) is to remember that you have full control over what feedback you choose to implement and what feedback you choose to ignore. An editing tool can help you find the potential problems, but you’ll have to decide if and how to fix them.
3. Use an editing tool for your final proof
Proofreading is the final part of your editing process. During a proofread, you’ll look for awkward word or page breaks and do a final run of copy-editing.
You can use an editing tool for this final copy-edit, as well: running ProWritingAid’s Grammar Report and Consistency Check can make sure that you haven’t misplaced a comma or forgotten to capitalize a character’s name during your line and deep edits.
An editing tool can save you time and money at the proofreading stage: if you’re tight on funds, you can use an editing tool to run your final checks, while you yourself search the manuscript for formatting errors. At this stage, you’ve caught the vast majority of mistakes and there aren’t as many errors to contend with.
Use an editing tool at every stage of the editing process
Working through the edits of your manuscript is both a challenge and a joy. By the end of your editing process, you’ll have a book that’s publish-ready…even if it takes you several rounds of edits to get there!
Working with an editing tool like ProWritingAid can save you time, money, and hassle as you hone your manuscript. By using an editing tool, you can identify both large and small mistakes and decide how to fix them to improve your work.
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