On Editing

A while back, I posted a call to all writers who wanted to share their editing tips, and Sarah Carlson volunteered.  If you don’t already follow Sarah’s blog, you’re missing a real treat.  So without further ado, here’s Sarah:


Please share one to three tips or tricks that you use when editing your work, how specifically you use them, and why they work for you.

The more you write, the better you get. Especially if you spend the money to hire a professional editor, as you can learn so much from them and apply later. Critiquing and editing others’ works helps practice and develop your own skills as well.

I tend to edit as I go, but then do a final read-through line edit. The best way for me to do this is to actually print it out and take a pen to it. My brain just processes things differently on paper.

What was your biggest repeated mistake when you first started writing? What is your weakest point of editing and why?

I’m not sure if this is editing per say, but my biggest mistake was overwriting, which slows down pacing, saps tension, and just makes things boring. I still generally end up doing multiple reads of the full MS, cutting and trimming and condensing as I go. I would also say slipping into passive tense.

My weakest point in editing at this point is probably rushing through because I want to get done quickly. I need to force myself to take breaks and slow down.

Have you used any editing methods previously that just didn’t work for you? If so, what were they and why didn’t they work?

My process has evolved naturally over the years. I’d say early on I thought I was better at self-editing than I actually was, but working with professional editors and other skilled writers helped me improve.

Please tell us something about your current work in progress or your most recent completed work (or both), and tell us where we can purchase your book(s).

I just finished a major re-write and edit of Hooligans in Shining Armour! It took five months and a lot of blood and sweat, but no tears 😉 I sent it to my agent a few days ago. You can learn more about it on my blog. https://sjoycarlson.wordpress.com/

Hope this helps!


Thank you, Sarah, for such great tips!  Now, who’s up next?  If you’re game, please contact me at:

10 thoughts on “On Editing

  1. I too thought I was good at editing, other peoples work maybe, but not my own apparently.
    Having just found multiple use of the word ‘was’, I might have to give the job to someone else, or hang up my pen!

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