Monday, January 21, 2019

Editing For Flow

I was recently asked to edit the WIP for a lady who is an amazing writer. She explained what she wanted, but I asked questions, just to be sure. She had reached a point in her project where she wasn't quite sure of the flow. She didn't need spelling or grammar editing, all I had to do was look at the flow. Even though I knew approximately where in her work she was concerned, I started reading from the beginning. In that way, I could see how the entire project flowed, and not just focus on one part of it.

This is a non-fiction book, so flow is important. What exactly is flow? From my perspective, it is the movement of ideas in a manner that a reader will be able to understand and follow. No one goes down the proverbial rabbit hole when reading. I have read my share of non-fiction books that jumped around and did not hold together. IMHO, they were a waste of time. I am not talking stand-alone chapters here, I am talking about paragraphs within an individual chapter that are questionably related to each other. 

When doing this type of editing, I suggest reading the material out loud. Don't try and rush the reading, because if you do you will unconsciously fill in the "black holes" in your mind, but they will still exist on paper. Printing out the material for editing is another way to do this, but reading something out loud, in a slow manner, will give you an overall view of what is going on.

Take notes while you are reading, or you may forget what you found questionable. I am reading my friend's work in a digital file and making notes in a separate digital file as I go along.

Changes that need to be made could be very minor, or they could be major structural changes. This is one reason that I chose to read my friend's work from the beginning, to see how the whole thing was structured. Well, there is another reason, but I cannot give it here, because it has to do with the nature of the presentation.

I am looking at things such as (1) Are the ideas easily understood?, (2) Does the sequence in which they are presented make sense?, and (3) Does the work build on itself?

I am in the process of co-writing a non-fiction book, and I am sure that my writing partner and I will be editing for flow, probably even before we edit for grammar and punctuation. 

(c) January 2019 Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author. 


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