Editing 101 – Your Turn


I’ve had a number of writers ask me if I can show an edited page from a manuscript, so they can learn from it. So that seems a fun way to start out the New Year. But what I want to do is let YOU take a turn as an editor first. So here, for your editing pleasure, is something I wrote just for this occasion. Print this out, put on your editing hat, and go for it. I’ll post the edited text next week, so we can compare and discuss!


Sammy said it was a long time since he seen Rufus. Said the ol’ dawg shoulda been home long time ago. Said somethin’ musta happent to the mutt and said it was my fault fer bein’ sew stupid and not tyin’ him up wh’n I shoulda. “Gilly, you no good” he says to me. Like he’s so good and special.

They lived on the coast, but she hardly ever saw the ocean. They lived deep in the woods, in this rundown shack Sammy called a house. They didn’t go to town much. Just to buy food. She hated going to town. People always gave them that look curled up nose like a bad smell look. One time a fancy-dressed lady called me “little white trash.” Didn’t know what that meant, so asked Sammy.

Means stupid, he said. Means you’re stupid. Like when you don’t tie up the dog.

But I didn’t like tying up the dog. The rope was too short. He couldn’t navigate the way he needed to. Far too restricting. I wouldn’t care to be tied up like that. Why should I tie up the dog I wondered when I wouldn’t wanna be tied up?

“What I care what you want?” I says to Gilly. She looked scared. I telled her to tie ol’ Rufus up last night, and she didn’t. Again. So guess what? Ol’ Rufus was off somewhere, visiting garbage cans and makin’ hisself sick. No good girl. If Ida had a son, he woulda listened. But no. I got this no-good girl of a daughter. She never lissens to me.

“Ifn that dog dies, I’m agonna make you wish you’d gone with him!” I yelled.

Gilly snarled,“I already wish I’d gone with him. Anythin’s better than bein’ here with you,” she choked.

Darned girl. That’s what he was thinkin’, standing there starin’ at me. Well, fine. I didn’t think all that much of him, either.


Have fun!

20 Responses to Editing 101 – Your Turn

  1. Avatar
    Jackie Layton January 9, 2013 at 5:12 am #

    This is going to be fun.

    Thanks, Karen.

  2. Avatar
    Diana Harkness January 9, 2013 at 5:18 am #

    Sorry, too busy editing my own work, but from a quick read I see obvious errors in punctuation and I would never use the word navigate–it doesn’t fit the style–pace or roam or almost any other word would be better.

  3. Avatar
    Bonnie Lacy January 9, 2013 at 6:16 am #

    Sounds good. Thanks for teaching! Have a great day!

  4. Avatar
    Lisa January 9, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Looking forward to this, thanks!

  5. Avatar
    Jeanne January 9, 2013 at 7:14 am #

    This will be fun, Karen. I’m up for the challenge, and I’m looking forward to seeing your edits next week. 🙂

  6. Avatar
    Anastacia January 9, 2013 at 7:23 am #

    I see quite a few punctuation errors, and spots where there should be paragraph breaks; as far as the grammar, I’m assuming that it is meant to show the dialect of the speakers? Looks like a fun little exercise though 🙂 I would definitely change “navigate” and “restricting” . . . they don’t fit in with the general genre of the rest of the text.

  7. Avatar
    Lindsay Harrel January 9, 2013 at 8:42 am #

    I’m looking forward to learning from you, Karen!

  8. Avatar
    Michael Ehret January 9, 2013 at 10:39 am #

    Do you want us to post our edits, or just compare to yours privately? Fun!

  9. Avatar
    Suzanne January 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm #

    This looks like fun! I hope I have the time to dig into the sample and jump in on your discussion next week!

  10. Avatar
    Steve Laube January 9, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    Does not meet our needs at this time.

    The Steve Laube Agency

    • Avatar
      Jeanne January 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm #

      He-he. Would it meet your “needs” at any time? 🙂

    • Avatar
      Kathleen Freeman January 11, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

      Steve, you spoilsport. It’s a good story with a great voice. Jes’ needs a couple commas, consistent POV, a spelling fix or two, and for the voice to remain firm. The style is not unlike The Hobo and the Swan. Hmmm… I wonder if I sent it to Karen. ; )

  11. Avatar
    Peter DeHaan January 9, 2013 at 3:28 pm #

    What a great idea! You’ve given us a lot to tweak and fix. It’ll be fun to compare our ideas with the finished product.

  12. Avatar
    J.D January 10, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    This exercise is challenging and surprisingly fun. I’m all smiles and I tap into my southern roots, baby!

    • Avatar
      J.D January 10, 2013 at 9:41 am #

      As I tap. I’m all smiles as I tap into my southern roots. Maybe my posts should be the next editing exercise. Sheesh.

  13. Avatar
    V.V. Denman January 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Now, this is what fun looks like.

  14. Avatar
    Karen Ball January 10, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    LOL! Love your responses. With your edits, you don’t need to post them or email them to me, just keep them on hand and compare them to the edit I’ll do for next week’s blog. And then feel free to ask any questions to share your thoughts!

    Peace, all.


  15. Avatar
    Jenni Brummett January 10, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    The POV changes are very confusing.

    Can’t wait until you show us what you got Karen.

  16. Avatar
    Tracy Lawson January 12, 2013 at 10:28 pm #

    Thanks for the fun exercise! Looking forward to seeing your edit next week!


  1. Editing 101 – My Turn | The Steve Laube Agency - January 23, 2013

    […] great comments and conversation on what needed to be edited in the text I posted in my last blog (Editing 101 – Y0ur Turn). You all made some great […]

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