Recently I was asked if I’d give some tips on Editing.  At first I was reluctant, but here I am. Who am I, you ask. I’m known around most sites I belong to as talonrider.

Let me begin by giving you a little background. It all started back in 2004 when I responded to a request from an author looking for someone to go over some chapters that he was looking to maybe get published. Over the years, I’ve worked with several authors, some on a limited basis and others permanently.

An important part in working with an author is to know what the author expects of you. Never assume what the author wants. Communication is important. An added benefit is you both make a new friend.

Offer constructive criticism. Don’t just say you didn’t like something, tell them why.

If you see something that continues to show up, offer help on how to correct it.  Lets look at the commonly confused words, it’s/its. Here’s what I tell my authors: It’s is usually the contraction for it is. The best way to tell if it’s is the word you want is to say it is. If it works, that’s the word you want.

Don’t change anything without letting the author know.  You can make suggestions for  changes.  The final decision belongs to the author as it is his/her work. I did the once. I changed a misspelled word, told the author about it, but didn’t show where the word was. Turned out, the word was misspelled on purpose and the author wasn’t happy that he had to go find it and change it back.

When make a suggested change, it is best to highlight the whole word and not just a letter or punctuation mark. This makes it easier for the author to see it.

Word programs with a Track Changes feature is a good tool to use. It allows you to make the suggested change and allows the author to accept it or reject it. It also allows you to leave comments concerning your suggested changes.