Walking through the editing process today reveals how much goes into each stage of editing. There are substantive editors, copy editors, proofreaders, far more people are involved than what I’m typically used to. Each level/stage of the process brings so many different perspectives that typically falls on just one person. And as we discussed in lecture, this is a major benefit since certain people have strengths in areas that others do not. As well, some people are simply more interested in things like copy editing, while for other people it would feel like quite an arduous task to take on.
All these steps ensure that the content is consistent, polished, and free from technical errors.
However, for casual writing or when writing in a smaller publication like this one, it’s typically hard to follow these stages perfectly. I find that I typically have to play all these roles when editing this blog or even assignments.
For example, here’s how the typical process goes when I’m working by myself on any piece of writing.
Brainstorming the idea probably takes the most amount of time in the writing process. It needs to fit into the theme of the website, be interesting, and of course, be something that has enough content that I’ll actually be able to write a decent amount about it.
Then comes the general planning out of the piece. What is the introduction and conclusion supposed to look like? What should be discussed in the content of the post? Here’s where there’s a difference already begins to be apparent. Typically, I’ll make these decisions myself, without another writer, and although I give it a great deal of thought, there’s always some level of doubt as to what the audience may think.
Although I don’t have editors or proofreaders, I try to preserve a little bit of those stages in the way that I proceed.
With a plan in mind, typically I can go for marathon sessions, just putting content down first, and only making some small changes along the way. As I write, I’ll continually go back to the outline to make sure that the content is staying consistent with the overall theme, and in the case of essays, that the points are strong enough to support my argument.
In a second sweep of the piece, I’ll go through it to make sure it all flows well, and that each segment make sense in the context of the broader piece. This allows me to focus on a bit more of a higher level, and not get too lost in the weeds. This probably takes the longest, since I sometimes have to make major revisions, or really think about how well the ideas fit into the overall piece.
Then in the very last stage I’ll go through the entire piece from top to bottom just to make minor tweaks, fixing small typos or grammatical errors that I didn’t catch during the earlier cycles.
So overall, I follow somewhat of a similar cycle, although of course, having dedicated people in different roles would be a lot more helpful. I wouldn’t have to worry about whether I have enough time, or whether I’ll miss something simply because I’ve been working on a piece for so long.
Mini discussion: Genres
This week also got me thinking about both form and genre, and crossovers in each type. I think working on this blog has really shown the level of crossover when it comes to digital content. It’s so easy (and almost encouraged) to experiment with new forms and genres in order to stand out from other content on the web.
For example, I did a review of a channel called Epicurious just a few days ago. It was the perfect blend of both comedy and informative lessons on preparing typical foods – a kind of format that you might have seen elsewhere in this day and age, but probably hard to find on television 20-30 years ago.
I find that writers and producers experimenting with different blends is becoming much more common, and it’s creating much more unique content.
Even this blog is a bit of a big tent!
The focus is mainly on entertainment, but of course I cover all kinds of topics here – from former prisoner vlogs to hidden camera shows, to vlogs from space.
But that’s the thing, combining different genres actually makes them come together quite nicely and brings a bit of balance to each other. Having all drama or horror will quickly wear someone down, the same way making everything endlessly comedic will eventually cause it to lose that edge.
In the same fashion, reading something in print media is a very different experience from seeing something that’s been adapted into a TV show.
So hopefully as we move forward, more writers and producers will experiment with their creations, and we get to see more creative combinations in media, which are so valuable to keeping our media landscape interesting.