Authors & Speakers Network Blog with Larry James

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Editing versus Proofreading

Katie Smyth, Guest Author

Many first-time clients of a professional editing company or freelance editor are unsure about the difference between editing and proofreading, and which service they should choose. Editing and proofreading services produce different outcomes for writers, and therefore potential consumers must be aware of what they do.

EditingVSProofreadingThe Expert Editor has created this guide that describes the difference between editing and proofreading, not only to help our clients, but for writers in general who are evaluating their options. Based on our experience as a professional editing and proofreading company, we also provide general recommendations as to when a typical client should receive an editing or proofreading service.

The target audience is academic, book and business authors who are new to the publication process, such as students with a thesis or dissertation, first time book authors or businesses newly outsourcing their editing or proofreading. We avoid editor jargon and focus on helping writers make an informed choice between an editing or proofreading service.

Editing explained ~ Editing comes first. Editing involves a proactive editor making changes and suggestions that will improve the overall quality of your writing, particularly in relation to language use and expression. After editing, your language will be sharp and consistent, your expression clear and the overall readability of your writing enhanced. Editing also involves the ‘proofreading’ of your document, with spelling, grammar and other language errors eliminated. Editing ensures that your writing gives the impression that the English language comes naturally to you, even if it does not.

Quality writing is so important in all walks of life. The quality of writing can ultimately be the difference between success and failure, such as defending a dissertation, selling copies of a book, or landing a business client. The higher the standard of writing, the clearer and more persuasive your arguments, and the more authoritative you will sound as an author. No matter how inspired your ideas, brilliant your logic or moving your story, if the writing is not fluent, consistent and mistake-free, it will not have the impact that it should.

In addition to improving the quality of writing, academic editing and book editing also serve the important function of ensuring that specific conventions are met. For academic editing this includes referencing style and formatting requirements and for book editing important literary elements in a fiction or non-fiction book.

Proofreading explained ~ Proofreading, on the other hand, has less ambition than editing and is therefore a cheaper service, but it still performs a vital role. Proofreading is the process of correcting surface errors in writing, such as grammatical, spelling, punctuation and other language mistakes.

You might think that eliminating mistakes and inconsistencies in a document is not a particularly demanding job, and that a friend or family member, or even a computer program, could do it. However, a professional editor is a far more accomplished proofreader than your typical friend or family member and any computer program that Google has dreamed about. A professional editor understands the conventions of English writing and the nuances of the language, is trained to be methodical, and through experience can identify and eliminate the common errors that often plague, for example, a novel or thesis. As well as catching easy to overlook mistakes, they can also identify inconsistent terminology, spelling and formatting.

Proofreading is an important service because any writing intended for publication—whether an academic article, book or business document—must communicate its message in the clearest possible way. For writing to be clear, there must be no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors, or inconsistency in language, as these can undermine the impact of the writing and the credibility of the author.

Editing-vs-proofreading

What a typical writer should choose

In our experience, there are particular types of writers that should usually choose editing, whilst for others proofreading is more appropriate. The following examples are not hard-and-fast rules, but a general insight into the typical needs of certain writers. As a professional editing company, we know all too well that there are exceptions to the rule, and that writing between authors of similar backgrounds can vary greatly.

When editing is essential

• An English as a Second Language (ESL) author will almost invariably require editing rather than proofreading, whether they have written something academic, book or business related. ESL writers generally have trouble with the complexity of the English language and its sometimes curious norms. Even an ESL author that is highly proficient at speaking English can get tripped up by the nuances and contradictions of formal English writing (as many native-speakers can too!).

• At first instance, a book author should seek editing rather than proofreading. Book editing can be invaluable in enhancing the overall quality of the book’s language, and can ensure that it reaches a publishable standard. The self-publishing and e-book markets, let alone the traditional publishing one, are so competitive that you can be sure that the writers you are competing against have received a professional book editing service, so not having one puts you at a distinct disadvantage.

When editing is advantageous

• A native-English speaker requiring academic publication will usually choose editing. Although some academics and students are confident writers, professional editing can still provide great benefit. As described above, editing improves writing quality, which ensures that your arguments—the original insights you spent significant energy and time developing—are expressed in a clear and compelling way. Academic editing also involves an editor checking your conformity with style and formatting conventions. Quality writing and absolute adherence to academic conventions are two cornerstones of successful academic publishing.

• A business may choose editing or proofreading, depending on the document and its level of importance. The standard of communication defines the identity of a business, with quality writing signifying competence and professionalism. If the author of the document is not a confident writer, or if multiple authors have had an (often inconsistent) input, then editing is highly advantageous.

When proofreading is appropriate

• Students and academics who are confident writers, and have self-edited, may only require proofreading to eliminate surface errors. The writing itself should already be publication quality, with proofreading ensuring the removal of mistakes, inconsistencies and academic-specific abnormalities that can detract from the end-product.

• Book authors that have already received professional editing usually benefit from a final proofread to publish with absolute confidence. Although some authors may balk at the prospect of paying for proofreading after the book has already been professionally edited, the reality

• is that just a few errors can detract from the reading experience and ensure it does not reach its potential. A litany of surface errors, needless to say, will be fatal dagger in the heart of any author.
Some businesses may just require a mistake-free document, rather than the quality of writing to be optimised. Again, much will depend on the type of document and its level of importance to the company.

In Summary

Are you satisfied with the quality of your writing?

If yes, a proofreading service will generally be your best option, however, if there is scope to improve your writing, including language use, expression and adherence to any formal writing conventions specific to your field, editing is the way to go.

Ideally a writer would receive an editing service first, and subsequently a final proofread just before publication to ensure absolute perfection. While we recommended this approach to book authors that covet publishing success, the reality is that many writers—academic, book or business—cannot afford both services. If you are only after one service, you need to choose the correct one, and this guide is designed to help.

KatieCopyright © 2014 – Katie Smyth. – Reprinted with permission. The Expert Editor provides editing and proofreading services to a diverse range of clients in Australia and overseas, including students, academics, authors and businesses. Thesis editing and book editing are two popular services, but we are not limited as to who we can help, and with what type of writing. Visit their Website @ http://www.ExpertEditor.com.au/.

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Friday, February 1, 2013

The Importance of Editing: Misconceptions and Details of the Editorial Process

Darlene Quinn, Guest Author

As authors, we know that the writing process itself does not come without countless hours, months, and sometimes even years spent crafting that masterpiece. However, be it an essay, article, or even a book, the work of a writer is far from over at the end of the first draft. For many of us, the hardest, and for some, the most enjoyable work is yet to come.

editingOf course we all want our first draft to be perfection, yet, mistakes are inevitable. As the creators of our body of work, we can oftentimes be so inside of our own creative process that a simple slip of the fingers can easily go overlooked. Words can be misspelled, verb tense can get confused, and sometimes even sillier mistakes can happen that programs like spell check will overlook, like meaning to type “steam” and accidently typing “stem”. Thus being so inside our process we then risk reading what was intended in our minds rather that what was actually written. It happens to each and every one of us and this is why editing is crucial.

Obviously we want our manuscript to be as professional as possible; therefore, at the conclusion of our first draft I personally have found that it is best to give some distance between what has just been written before diving into the first self-edit. I have found that it takes a few weeks to a month to place enough distance between us and our work before starting in on the second draft. Then, after finishing the second draft (or however many drafts it takes to be satisfied) it is finally rime to get a second set of eyes to look over our work. It’s time to edit.

So, what exactly is editing? The view on this particular process varies depending on the type of manuscript and who you talk to, but the overall concept remains in place. Nonetheless, the biggest misconception surrounding the editing process is that a copy edit is merely proofreading. This is not to discount proofreading as part of the overall editorial process, as it is in fact essential, but it is also the last phase of editing.

An actual edit is a more “in depth” account of what has been written. A good editor will assist in improving the flow of the prose as well as the reader’s engagement with the text. This assures that the manuscript is not bogged down by text that does not advance the plot. This part of the process is often called the “substantive” or “developmental” edit. During this phase, the following aspects will be addressed: pacing, repetition, believability, seamless chapter progression, a review of subthemes, and point of view.

In addition to the previous, the editor will also work on heightening the tension in the novel. In doing so, it might become necessary to adjust certain paragraphs and sentences in order to eliminate awkward phrasing and construction in addition to suggesting changes all of which will enhance the overall plotline or a character’s development. For those entrenched in a series, the editor will assist creating the best reading experience for current fans along with engaging readers who are newer to the series. In doing so, the editor will assist in leaving sufficient historical details in place to help orient the latter without bogging down the flow of the story by retaining too much back information.

copyeditsNext comes what is known as a “copy edit”, which is the part of the editing process which is often confused with “proofreading”. This part of the overall editing process follows the author’s review of the substantiative or developmental edits along with the redraft of the manuscript. During the copy edit they will continue to polish the manuscript based upon the issues found during the substantial edit by “listening” for the plausibility of the dialogue and continuing to correct grammar, punctuation, usage oversights, as well as rework any sentences to avoid any unclear or awkward construction.

Finally we come to the proofreading stage of editing. This last part of the editing procedure is to ensure proper technical style along with correcting any final grammatical or punctuation oversights. The editor reviews the composed pages for any potential layout issues and works to make certain that the quality of the final product is in fact ready for retail shelves.

To illustrate this notion, I recently read what could have been a fantastic thriller b a self-published author. The author themselves was a wonderful storyteller who h ad an excellent grasp of language and detail. As I read this particular author’s work, I found no immediate fault with the structure of the story; however, it soon became clear that the material has not undergone a copy edit. There was so much witty dialogue in place that it slowed down the pacing of the story and I found myself beginning to skim over places in the story. This is obviously not the reaction you want your readers to experience.

Self-editing is an essential first, however, having an editor, or that second set of eyes on your work does come with its own unique set of advantages. For example, having worked on a piece for so long, we as authors can become too close to our own work.Being inside of our head, we are blind to some of the more subtle flaws in our work. This is why it is essential to have that other set of eyes look it over. We need someone who can’t fill in the subconscious gaps to say “This doesn’t make sense”, “What did you mean by…?” or, “Igot lost when…”. Therefore, if a professional editor is not within your budget, try finding at least one writer or individual who you trust to give your manuscript a thorough edit.

Remember, it is important to get some distance between the writing process and editing. We must be open to suggestions while being true to the story we want to tell or content we intend to convey to make our work shine.

quinnCopyright 2013 – Darlene Quinn. Darlene Quinn is “The Social Conscience Mentor and Coach!” She has emerged as an award winning author, writing coach, public speaker and board member of several organizations in the literary arena. Visit Darlene’s website: http://DarleneQuinn.net/

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Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Writer’s Tips…

Filed under: Author Tips,Editing — Larry James @ 8:00 am

I don’t know about you, but when my creative juices get going I cannot type fast enough. There is something about momentum that opens the door to my creative brain.

I use both longhand and typing for first drafts – longhand for jotting a few notes and typing for getting the notes info my computer. I keep an idea list and will often go back to it too see if there are any thoughts or ideas I can use in the current article I am writing.

fasterIf you use the Columbus system (discover and land), do yourself a huge favor and take a typing course.

Instead of typing faster… just keep writing. Tell your inner-critic to shut up! Don’t let it break your train of thought. Just get your words onto the page. To write faster, keep the writing and editing processes separate. Put your editors hat on the shelf and just start writing. Write your first draft as fast as you can without stopping. Don’t worry about spelling, grammar, or flow. This increases your speed and your creativity. Much of the “speed” in writing comes from a willingness to separate writing and editing.

“Trying to edit while writing is like trying to run while tying your shoe-laces…” ~ Ali Hale-Luke

Never worry about the quality of your first draft. You can always change it or completely rewrite it later, but as you write, it will give you ideas for more content. Get your first draft down fast so you save time for the all-important editing and proofing. That’s where the magic comes in – not in the rambling, buy in the messy first drafts that almost everyone writes. Engaging with your writing in this way allows new thoughts and insights to come to you more quickly. If you’re using a word processor turn OFF the automatic spelling and grammar check tool. It’s a distraction and it slows you down.

The quality of the words doesn’t matter. You can make them better through editing. If you find that you’re stuck, don’t try to force the words to come. If you get stumped for the right word, simply type “xxx” and keep going. If you need to fill in facts and figures that you don’t already have then highlight them in some way and come back to them later. The idea is to keep the flow going on this first draft. When you go back to edit, the right word will almost always pop into your head.

take-a-breakTake breaks quite often. I often forget to take breaks (I don’t want to stop the creative process, you know). I often will set a timer for 30 minutes to remind me. No breaks? You can develop cramps, not only in your fingers, in your legs and in your mind. 😉 I always find myself and my mind refreshed and ready to write when I do this.

I rarely start an article at the beginning. I often will write something that may later appear in the beginning. I just write as thoughts come to me. It matters not where you start… it only matters that you start.

Larry’s Note: Thank you to Lynda McDaniel, Association for Creative Business Writing, for her contribution to this tip! Take Lynda’s “Quick Quiz” to test your know-how. Click here!

BONUS Article: Scribble, Scribble… Write, Write!

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Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a professional speaker and the author of three relationship books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” His newest book is “Ten Commitments of Networking.” Larry James also offers “Author & Speaker” coaching. Contact: AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. CelebrateLove@cox.net – More than 110 articles especially for Authors & Speakers at: www.AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.com

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationships” BLOG at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking” BLOG at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Weddings” BLOG at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com

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