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Editing for Others

Writing is an act of love, telling the story of characters in one’s imagination. Editing that story can be fun (following the plot from beginning to end), exasperating (when you keep finding mistakes you should have caught the first time), and even boring (by the twentieth run through).

But editing someone else’s work is a whole other kind of adventure. I have taken on such a project recently, and it is an eye opener.

There is the need to be tactful if there are glaring errors or finicky corrections (like punctuation). Working with multiple editors/proofreaders is chaotic. Delays in receiving the initial text are frustrating. Using Word’s Track Changes function is a new experience (and visually messy).

And then there are the meetings to attend and the group decisions to be made. (Reminds me of working in government departments. Aaagh!)

But such a project is worth the effort. Especially because the first reading is an exploration of new information (non-fiction) or someone else’s imagination. Subsequent readings hammer the information home or draw out creativity in dealing with plot ambiguities (fiction) or lack of flow (fiction and non-fiction).

All in all, though taking time away from my own writing, this new project is an exciting one.

If you are a writer, have you ever edited someone else’s work?