Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, February 17, 2024

Why I Love Editing - Installment 1001

[Next Post - March 2 - Editing Examples]


 Why Editing is essential! (see pic below)



A slight interruption for some kitty pics . . .

Purr-fect Valentine

Last oil change - tuna oil?

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No, this is not a repeat of previous posts - just ideas that surfaced as I started an edit of Chapters 1-15 of my latest book, The Abandoned Daughter. My father—an educator who taught math and science and even coached football in a tiny Nebraska high school, before deciding to get a Masters degree in Education from Harvard, and moving his family all the way to Boston to do so—always said that it took at least three repetitions for any topic to be remembered by students. So . . . here are a few more words on one of my all-time favorite subjects.

A Caveat right up front . . .

There are likely as many ways to write as there are writers. I just want to be sure every author, particularly newbies, understand that. Too often, "rules" are laid down with such authority by one faction that newbies think they MUST follow that way of doing things, missing out on other methods that might work better for them. So, as much as I am "sold" on my way of editing, keep in mind that it might not be what works best for you. As an example of what I mean:

There is a school of thought that says, "Get through the draft as fast as you can. Do not pause, forge straight through to "The End."  I would go stark, raving mad if I did this. I do a LOT of editing as I go. If faced with edits for an entire manuscript all at once, I'd probably throw up my hands and toss the whole thing. In addition, I build every scene on what has gone before, and in the course of editing after each chapter and again after each section, I add a great deal of "meat" that affects what comes after. If I did not edit-as-I-go, I would have nothing but bare bones with many great ideas left by the wayside, never to be resurrected.

So why do I love editing?

1.  The sheer joy of discovering that what I wrote works. 

[And then there's the shock of discovering a chapter is an "Aargh!" instead of a Wow! (See # 2.)]

2.  The satisfaction of finding the parts that are wrong and having the opportunity to fix them before they compound into something too complex to change—a problem that can result in a mediocre book or the necessity of throwing the baby out with the bathwater; i.e., chucking the whole thing.

3. And, yes, I enjoy the challenge of #2. Sometimes the fix is easy, no more than adding or deleting a few words. And sometimes the fix requires revising an entire sentence or paragraph. But again, the satisfaction of finding a way to improve the original is well worth the time and effort.

A few of the thousand things included in Editing: 

1. Adding words, phrases, whole sentences or paragraphs to make my work more clear, more colorful, more original. To better describe characters and settings, to drop plot hints here and there, etc., etc.

2. Deleting words, phrases, whole sentences, and occasional paragraphs to tighten the manuscript, make it easier to read.

3. Finding places where I thought I was being perfectly clear, only to discover I left the point in my head, rather than putting it on the page where it belonged.

4. Looking for facts I forgot to check. For example, in my Work-in-Progress, The Abandoned Daughter, I frequently refer to the weir on the River Avon below Pulteney Bridge, and it finally occurred to me I had no idea if this weir existed in the Regency. Oops! I had grave doubts that Google could provide an answer to such an obscure question, but when I asked, there it was, right in the headline—I didn't even have to click on the article. The weir below Pulteney Bridge was built in the 1770s. Wow!

5.  Checking the Oxford English Dictionary to make sure the words I use are correct for the period. (This is particularly important for American authors writing Regency—it's so very easy to let an Americanism creep in.)

6. Fixing the itty-bitties—typos and missed punctuation 


When Editing is complete (each round of it to the point of ad nauseum!), I experience the immense satisfaction of knowing my characters and settings are more vivid, my plot more complex and intriguing. That I've climbed another rung in the ladder on the way to presenting a book people will enjoy reading.

I cannot emphasize too strongly:  Unless you are one of the very few who get it right the first time—and they do exist (maybe 1 % of us)—Editing is what raises a book from ordinary to good, possibly to brilliant. That has been my mantra since I began this blog in 2011:  EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! Then do it all again.               




This week's featured book is aimed primarily at new authors - a compilation of ten years of posts on Writing and Editing (2011-2021), all neatly organized by category for easy reading.


 Grace note:  Although a few of the topics are now outdated by upgrades, most of the articles are as valid as the day they were written, and hopefully will be helpful to any author struggling through the throes of learning the how-to's of putting satisfying words on the page.


MAKING MAGIC WITH WORDS offers easy-to-understand advice on Writing, Editing, and a wide variety of Publishing topics—206,000+ words designed to get you started on your writing project, support you every step along the way, and advise you on what comes after "The End." Topics range from choosing a genre to the difference between an editor and a copyeditor. From how to develop your characters to the nitty-gritty of punctuation. From Point of View, Hooks, and Show vs. Tell to helpful aids like ASCII codes, Microsoft codes, and how to work with Track Changes. From "Edit the Blasted Book" to Where and How to submit. MAKING MAGIC WITH WORDS also includes step-by-step instructions on many of those tricky little technical problems we have to cope with in the Age of Computers, such as how to change manual tabs to automatic.

MAKING MAGIC WITH WORDS is a compilation of ten years of blog posts on Writing and Editing, which first appeared on Grace's Mosaic Moments and are now organized by topic under three major headings: Writing, Editing, and Random Thoughts. The author was trained as a teacher, spent more than thirty-five years as an editor, and a quarter century as an award-winning author. Blair Bancroft has published more than fifty novels, including Regency (Traditional, Historical, and Gothic), Suspense, Mystery, and SciFi. Additional information can be found at

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For a link to Blair's website, click here. 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

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