Navigating the Nuances of Narrative

Here’s a Guide to Comprehensive Editing, for you. Editing is more than just proofreading—it’s about enhancing the structure, clarity, and credibility of your writing. As writers, we strive to create polished narratives that resonate with our audience. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the four essential phases of editing, akin to steering a plane through turbulent skies.

1. Planning: Charting Your Course

Before takeoff, plan your route. Similarly, in editing, consider how and when to invest time and resources. Transition from the initial draft to the final submission. Remember, first drafts are often turbulent—accept this and focus on incremental improvements through revision. The best time to revise is after having a complete first draft. If you are into writing without a structure go for it! However, to save time it’s best to plan out the main events, leaving room for inspiration. Having thought of the structure from the start will help you out later, as fewer large changes may occur. Another benefit of planning is that you can think about which character best frames the narrative, and write scenes in the wrong order when you feel like it.

2. Higher-Order Revisions: Navigating the Storm

Think of this phase as adjusting your altitude during a tempest. Here, you’ll:

  • Develop key elements (themes, plot points, characterisation tweeks, move when things happen) to ensure clarity for your audience.
  • Navigate the turbulence until stability sets in.

3. Sentence-Level Revisions: Adjusting the Controls

As you fly through the clouds, fine-tune your diction and sentence structure. Ensure your choices enhance clarity and flow. Like a skilled pilot, make precise adjustments to keep your narrative on course.

4. Proofreading: Clear Skies Ahead

In the final approach, scan for sentence-level mistakes—unfinished sentences, grammatical errors, and misspellings. Smooth out any remaining turbulence, ensuring a flawless landing.


Editing, like piloting a plane, demands vigilance, adaptability, and precision. Embrace the process, and your narrative will soar above the storm clouds. Remember: Good writing isn’t about being a good or bad writer; it’s about navigating the nuances until your words glide effortlessly.

About Emma

As an introvert haunting the corners of storytelling festivals, it’s incredibly difficult to track Emma down. She’s best known for writing Scottish fiction about working-class women and communities and their misrepresented lives. You can find her recent book A Gypsy’s Curse here. Or get writing help here.

Emma Parfitt

Proofreader for business and academic documents, translations, and English writing.


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