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Revising vs. Editing: Amy Locklin Wonders

Posted by on Mar 1, 2013 in Blog, Fresh Ink | 1 comment

I’ve been very pleased to take some courses at San Diego Writers, Ink, over the last several months including a short story workshop using writing prompts with Lisa Kessler and a Read and Critique with Mark Clements. As I think about these courses, I wonder how folks in the larger SDWI community—instructors, participants, and others—think about the terms editing versus revising in our writing process.

Does this term editing suggest to you mostly copy-editing, which is by trade removing grammatical and style mistakes? Or do you think editing implies extensive revision, going back to the drawing board, as they say, or restarting from “scratch”?

The interchangeable order of development and revision/revision and development suggests the two are simultaneous processes.

Please describe your writing process, how you think about and integrate revision and development and editing in your creative writing. (Although we are interested in professional writing, it tends more to be more product-oriented as opposed to process-oriented.) We look forward to getting this important conversation going about learning and writing!

I hope you will take the time to post your thoughtful comments below.

Amy Locklin has worked in community and college education for nearly two decades. She recently edited the sci-fi and fantasy short fiction the anthology Altered States and has begun to edit a second anthology, Law and Disorder. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in journals including Clementine Magazine, Quarter After Eight, Maize, and Main Street Rag, as well as the anthologies And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana and Dots on a Map: Stories from Small Town America. Her work has won honors in the Robert J. DeMott short prose contest, the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Associated Writing Program’s Intro Journal Project, and the Lois Davidson Ellis Literary Award. A recipient of Indiana Arts Commission grants, she earned her MFA at Indiana University where she directed the IU Writers’ Conference for four years. In addition, Amy writes and performs music. Her poetry chapbook The Secondary Burial is available from Finishing Line Press.

One Comment

  1. SDWI says:

    I’m both a writer and a copyeditor, but as I write I sometimes have to squelch the copyeditor in me in order to get out a first draft. In other words, I try to write (at first) with little regard to correctness or even readability. I know some people prefer to outline their thoughts, but I find that I\’m better at just getting the points down in unordered sentences first.

    As I rewrite, however, the copyeditor in me comes out and I find myself taking on the role of reader more than writer. I think the word \”copyeditor\” is misunderstood. Copyeditors do more than remove grammatical and style mistakes. Sometimes it\’s necessary when working with an author to suggest heavy revisions and re-organization of the material. I do that with my own writing, too.

    One of the biggest lessons to learn from copyediting is the ability to imagine yourself as a reader. Yes, it sometimes means correcting punctuation mistakes, but more often it means making sure your writing is clear and concise through things like paying attention to modifiers, pronoun antecedents, parallelism, etc.

    A great topic and thanks for starting this discussion!

    -Chris Stuart

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