Quick Editing Checklist for Non Editors

from Annette 

Some of us are writers, some of us are editors and some of us are neither – very few are both. I have to admit to being a terrible editor, (fortunately I am married to a wonderful one).

If you don’t have the good fortune to know a great editor first hand, here’s a great little checklist.

Step One . Use your word processing software’s grammar and spell-check. I even use my email spell-check – I’m a good speller but not such a great typist. The grammar and spell-check function often catches incomplete sentences, confusing sentences, bad punctuation and of course misspelled words. It doesn’t however catch those pesky words which sound alike but are spelled differently.

Step Two. Use your "Find and Replace" feature and search for all of the Your and You’re words to make sure they’re correct. Search for the It’s and its to make sure they’re correct. Search for There, their, they’re and so on. The "Find and Replace" feature makes the job a quick and reliable one – you won’t miss a single word.

Step Three. Read it aloud. This process forces you to actually read your content rather than to skim it with your eyes. It forces you to be thorough. Quite often this is where you will catch the sentences which just don’t make sense and the other minor errors your word processing tools don’t catch. For example, I often repeat words in in a sentence. Spell-check won’t catch that but reading it aloud does.

Step Four. Macro Editing. Up to this point you’ve really been searching for the small stuff. Now it’s time to take one last glance at your content and make sure you have a beginning paragraph which introduces your topic, a body paragraph with at least three points to support your beginning paragraph statement and a summary or conclusion paragraph which wraps it all up. Kind of brings you back to your old Literature and writing classes doesn’t it?

Step Five. Double check formatting consistency. Make sure all your subheadings are formatted the same – if you’ve been bolding some and underlining others, make them consistent. Make sure all of your links work, all of your bullets or numbered lists have the same margins and so on. Polish the formatting so your content is easy to read and professional.

Take these five steps to keep your writing error free, polished, and professional. Happy writing!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Facebook
  • StumbleUpon
  • Twitter
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • MySpace

Related posts:

Comments are closed.