Editing vs Revising

Maybe I should start a ‘match-up’ category since I like to pit to things against each other. Nah, I’m too lazy for that. Plus, I’m sick thanks to my son who learned how to share his cold. Yay!

Anyway, there has been a question as to the difference between editing and revising. I’ve been stating that I’m going through revisions with my book as opposed to saying that I’m doing an edit. Is there really a difference?

First, I looked up both words at dictionary.reference.com (a writer’s friend). It is interesting to see one definition of edit: to revise. But under revise, we don’t find the word edit. (Look it up if you don’t believe me.) Based off this information, I don’t see a real difference.

But, like most things I say, the difference is in my head. Here’s what I see: revising encompasses the story as a whole. When I revise–yes I did mental finger quotes on that one–I am looking for failed plot points, places I need to develop my characters, areas that need a little more or a little less–usually that’s a lot more or a lot less–detail, as well as anything that is out of place or out of character. Sometimes, I mention something later on in the story that needs an introduction earlier on or it is too confusing.

However, editing to me is different. I guess there are two types of editing: copy editing vs line editing.

First, “line edit” has no definition according to dictionary.com. However, in my internet research skills, I did see line edit defined as “reading the story for content and narrative flow.” To me, this is a light compared to full revising. (Yes, Sarah Eden, my research included Wikipedia. And no, I didn’t use the definition it gave.)

Second, people who do copy edits are who I would refer to as “Grammar Guru” or “Grammar Nazi”. I do have tendencies to be a GG or a GN. However, when I’m revising, I need my story looked at more. Why? Because I can easily most of the grammar problems. Yeah, I need help. No doubt. But in my mind, my story works perfectly, then I can worry about comma splices and homophones. (FYI, I do know what both mean.)

Anyway, those are my definitions mixed in with the “truth” that is found on the internet.

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