On Editing

I haven’t blogged in a while – guilty. Not even going to talk excuses like holidays or travel. Nope, no excuse, but a reason: PRIORITY. My PRIORITY has been editing. But I thought I would take a short break from editing to share some thoughts on my recent editing project.

I’m editing my Work In Progress (WIP), Believing In Horses, Too, a sequel to my first novel, Believing In Horses. When I wrote my first book, I edited along the way (and of course, re-edited, re-edited with editors, re-edited again, etc.). I spent more time choosing the exact words during the first draft, rewriting each chapter until I got what I wanted. This time, I followed Stephen King’s approach. From his classic, On Writing:


“On Writing” also includes great editing advice

With the door shut, downloading what’s in my head directly to the page, I write as fast as I can and still remain comfortable….If I write rapidly, putting down my story exactly as it comes to mind, only looking back to check the names of my characters and the relevant parts of their back stories, I find that I can keep up with my original enthusiasm and at the same time outrun the self-doubt that’s always waiting to settle in.

When I completed the first draft, I read the full manuscript through in its entirety. I looked for plot holes, continuity, and story cohesion. I was pleasantly surprised, but I should have known that King guy knew what he was talking about. I resisted the urge to edit during the first read-through, but did take notes on areas for clarity and improvement. I also noticed although my freewheeling writing got the story on paper, I needed serious editing regarding word choices and wordiness, to name a few.

The only software editing help I’ve used has been Microsoft Word’s Spell Check. I decided since I experimented with the writing portion, I’d continue to experiment with the editing portion. After consulting the online experts, I selected ProWritingAid. I tried the free version, thinking I wouldn’t like it. Another surprise: I bought a license, and am particularly happy with the Word AddIn. The Overused Words Report, Sticky Sentences Report, and Vague & Abstract Words Report, and more, identify issues I tend to read through when editing on my own.

ProWritingAid helps me the most by taking the emotion out of this first round of editing. The program didn’t write the words, so it has no attachment to them. The “writing robot” highlights potential problems, and it’s still up to me to determine what to do. So, back to my editing now, but I thought I’d share my recent experiences in what many writers consider their least favorite part of writing.

Please feel free to share your editing tips!


  1. Thank you, Patrise. I would be happy to show a quick demo of the program at our next writers’ group meeting to, for any who are interested. I don’t have any monetary ties to the program (i.e. not an affiliate and would not push others to buy). It’s just one of the tools I’ve found useful at certain times. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. a writing robot! how cool is that? I do like that objectivity – the program isn’t a person with opinions or biases, it’s just looking for patterns. I will check it out.

    and yeah, that King guy, he must know a thing or two!

  3. Thanks, Tina – just saw this as I have been out in the wild west on a horseback riding vacation. See you again soon!

  4. This seems like really great advice! I’ve shared it on my facebook page as well as on Twitter and G+. Thanks for linking up with Booknificent Thursday! Hope to see you again soon.

  5. Hi Stacey, from reading your blog post, I think you have a great voice and should definitely continue writing!

  6. I read “On Writing” some years ago. I’ve always wanted to write and reading that book inspired me to pick up the pen. However, life got in the way of writing and I put the pen down for years. Now, I’m just starting to blog and it feels so good to have a voice! So maybe I need to reread King’s book. Who knows what may happen!


  1. […] Editing:  although new to editing software myself, I’ve found Pro Writing Aid to be helpful.  A short book I also found useful is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print.  For more, please see “On Editing.” […]