Today I’m going to write about the editing process to take a 1st draft and polish it into a 2nd draft. Just like with the writing process, I did some reading about editing to give myself guidelines for turning the first draft of thesis chapters 1 & 2 into a second draft I’m not afraid to give to my advisor.

Two books I found useful for outlining a process for editing were Write It Right: The Ground Rules for Self-Editing Like the Pros and Edit Yourself. Write It Right included guidelines for making it through the editing process, including preparing to edit by identifying problem areas (mine include passive sentences, word repetition, and usage of which vs. that) and then creating a checklist to use while editing including all of those problem areas. Then you read the draft over many, many times including once for each item on the checklist. Here’s my editing steps and checklist.

As you can see, I even edited the editing steps, switching around steps 2 and 3.

The Edit Yourself book also includes a checklist of items to check for while editing (some of which I added to my checklist), but the most useful idea was to create a style sheet to ensure consistency in words and terms. This is something I hadn’t ever considered doing before, but can see will be very useful, especially since I deal with many Greek words that can be transliterated multiple ways (Iklaina vs. Iklena). Here’s my style sheet so far.

Of course, these steps will be backed up with grammar and style guides. There’s good old Strunk and White The Elements of Style (I have the 3rd edition). There’s also The Classic Guide to Better Writing. And where would I be without The Chicago Manual of Style (I have the 14th edition, but I think they’re up to 18 by now) and Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Thesis, and Dissertations.

With all of this in hand, I edited all 4 pages of Chapter 1 today (it’ll probably get beefed up after I finish the rest of the thesis and need to extensively revise the introductory chapter). I found editing those 4 pages to be just as exhausting as writing them in the first place, if not more so. I still have all of Chapter 2 to edit this week (substantially more than 4 pages) and it will be a struggle to get it all finished. I think after this, I’ll try to edit each section a few days after I write it to break up the editing into more reasonable pieces.