How-to Book Editing

WRITING CORNER: 7 Steps of Editing a Book-Length Project

Sharing Stories
April 10, 2023 at 8:05 p.m.
Ariele M. Huff
Ariele M. Huff Ariele M. Huff



1) I do all my initial longer fiction composition (and poetry) in long hand, which I recommend. I sometimes involve my husband, friends, or writers groups at the brainstorming stage—for help with what direction the piece will take and what devices to use, etc.

2) Then I read it out loud to my husband, giving me an opportunity to see it again and hear it for further corrections. 

3) Then I key in the work, hopefully, no more than 30 to 50 pages at a time. As I input the handwritten work, I find many other things to change. This is where many inconsistencies will make themselves obvious. During stages 2 and 3, I may return to brainstorming exercises that help create projects. Sometimes, those are necessary for the creation of new directions or continuation of the project’s momentum. 

4) Next, I go back through, on-screen, looking for spell and grammar check suggestions, as well as re-reading in a more holistic way. This is the point where repetitive word use, descriptions, or dialogue strategies get caught—my thesaurus gets a heavy work out here. 

5) Then the piece gets run out in hard copy, and I present it to my writing groups, friends, my husband.

6) After selecting which changes to use suggested by those people, I add those and make changes necessary to accommodate them, including going back through stages 3 to 6 again, if necessary—usually needed if the changes require relatively large additions or re-directions that require re-writing.

7) Finally, I go through it all again myself, looking for those neglected errors and typos. All my work typically has these seven stages; although, articles and columns often are done initially on the computer and skip being shared with groups and friends.

Ariele Huff creates Writing Corner and Sharing Stories for Northwest Prime Time. She teaches ZOOM classes through Greenwood Senior Center, the Frances Anderson Center, Edmonds Waterfront Center, and numerous online classes. For a flyer or answers to questions connect with her at

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