Thursday, May 31

How to edit a digital comic

WRITING CAN BE EASY for me depending on my level of creative energy but editing is often difficult. It requires a level of focus and attention to detail contrary to my nature. In today's publishing environment writers must know how to edit their own work. Here is a list of ideas to improve your editing:

Focus on communication. Good communication can be broken down into two steps; writing and editing. Writing is creating content and editing is refining content. Do one step at a time. Don't edit while creating content. A few good books in your library will help with the basics. My favorites are The Elements of Style, If You Can Talk You Can Write, and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers.

Experience the writing in a new way. Read the manuscript out loud. Awkward sentences can be detected and a more colloquial feel introduced into dialog. Listening to someone read your manuscript is also a good way to detect awkward constructions.

Simplify. Most problems of communication can be resolved by simplifying complex ideas. Complexity is fine as long as clarity prevails.

There are two types of editing; content editing and line editing. When you edit content you use creativity to order and embellish existing ideas. When you line edit you use logic by following the rules of spelling and grammar Rules are irrelevant if you are communicating uninteresting ideas but correct grammar and spelling are still a part of good writing. 

In comics you can combine an omniscient narrative with first and third person narrative, add copious amounts of intricate dialogue including internal dialogue as well as incorporating flashbacks and dream sequences. Things can get pretty complicated. The more complicated it gets the more you need to edit for voice, organization, plot, pacing, and rhythm. If you use flashbacks I highly recommend drawing a timeline and adding events at precise moments on that line.

Mistakes will creep into your manuscript no matter what you do. Reading your manuscript backwards is a good way to replicate the mindset of a good line editor. If all else fails enlist the help of a friend with a gift for line editing.

Have fun and good luck!

Brad Teare June 2012

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