PC Editing (Proof Copy Editing) is a term I invented because an Indie author generally does the editing, copy editing, and proofreading themselves. PC Editing incorporates all of these responsibilities.
You can divide this into three areas:
Copy Editing – This concerns examining drafts for:
- Proper grammar
- Word use
- Consistency (spelling of names are consistent throughout, etc.)
Proofreading – This is typically done after all copy editing is done. It is making your final draft ready to submit for publishing.
So, PCE is: the practice of examining manuscripts from the earliest draft through the continuous copy editing until the final draft. Then proofing kicks in as the final draft is prepared for publication.
How do you copy edit?
Have you heard the term KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid? Not a nice way of saying something, but it does apply to editing. The simpler your story writing the better it flows and the more satisfied your reader. With that in mind I have provided below 13 editing rules.
- Avoid long sentences whenever possible. Short sentences tend to speed up the story flow while long sentences tend to bog the story down.
- Stay with one voice, either 1st person or 3rd person.
- Limit use of adverbs (i.e., words ending with “ly”).
- Watch your punctuation.
- Avoid overusing parentheses, colons and the like.
- Avoid redundancies, such as ‘exact same thing.’
- Use common words rather than jargon or slang.
- Keep prepositions to a minimum. Sometimes you need to add ‘of,’ ‘to,’ ‘for,’ etc. but probably not as much as you are doing.
- Watch words like ‘that,’ ‘thing,’ ‘start to,’ ‘in order to,’ ‘very,’ and ‘really.’
- Avoid use of a passive voice.
- Always refer to people as ‘who.”Let your writing be personable.
- Use contractions (that’s instead of that is).
- Watch your spelling.
OK, we have a set of rules to follow. How do you edit? Different people have different ideas, but I prefer the following:
EIY (Edit it Yourself) –
- Many professionals will cry out not to do this, but it is an option that works if done properly.
- Be the first to review your work and make corrections.
- Have corrected copy reviewed by someone else, then edit.
- Get a third person to review, then you edit.
- Repeat these steps as often as you can.
PC Editing basically finds and removes the most objectionable errors. The more often your manuscript is reviewed, the more often you will streamline your book.
PC Editing is a process that you want to master. Put your own spin on it. The primary goal is to make your manuscript as error proof as possible. By the way, take with a grain of salt claims by some authors that they don’t make any errors. I have read great novels by celebrated authors and found errors. At the same time, don’t take a “whatever will be” attitude. Strive for perfection, but don’t get hung up on it.
Being an Indie Author puts a lot of responsibility and pressure on you, but you can do it. And the satisfaction that comes from a well-written novel is tremendous.
I might suggest that after you have completed the PC Editing process that you reward yourself. The old way of editing was to hire editors. So why not pay yourself for doing the work. Perhaps money in the bank, a nice dinner out, or buy something for yourself.
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