Friday, May 20, 2011

Revision, Rewriting, Editing? What's The Difference?

Hi Everyone!
I hope you had a lovely week. Mine was... hectic. But staying busy is a good thing, right?

So. I finished my revision. I'm doing a pass-through now, you know make sure there aren't any glaring plot holes or inconsistencies... There aren't any, the lies you speak, Erica!


So, I was thinking. What's the difference between Revising, Rewriting, Editing? I really use revise for what I'm doing, but it may really be editing or more like rewriting. So what's the difference?

I'll attempt to tell you. Although, I suspect you may know already, or you don't, and don't want to sound stupid, like me, by asking, 'cause frankly they all seem the same to me... LOL

I'll put the dictionary version (the one on my macbook) and see if that can help us. I'll take a stab at it. Sound fun? Let's try it.


the action of revising : the plan needs drastic revision.
a revised edition or form of something.

Well, that didn't help.

My take: This is when you are fixing sentences, words, not spelling, more like structure.


verb |rēˈrīt| ( past -wrote ; past part. -written ) [ trans. ]
write (something) again so as to alter or improve it : the songs may have to be rewritten | [ intrans. ] he began rewriting, adding more and more layers.

Oh, come on.

My take: This is when you rewrite whole chapters, plot points, basically make it make sense.


verb ( edited , editing ) [ trans. ] (often be edited)
prepare (written material) for publication by correcting, condensing, or otherwise modifying it : Volume I was edited by J. Johnson.
choose material for (a movie or a radio or television program) and arrange it to form a coherent whole : the footage wasn't good enough to be edited into broadcast form | [as adj. ] ( edited) an edited version drawn from several prerecorded performances.
be editor of (a newspaper or magazine).
( edit something out) remove unnecessary or inappropriate words, sounds, or scenes from a text, movie, or radio or television program.

A little better. But it sounds similar to the others, no?

My take: This is where you clean it up. Get the passive voice under control, find mistakes in grammar, spelling. By this point you should have a coherent story, if not... try revising or rewriting.

So, that's what I think. What about you? Anything to add. Have you always known the difference? Do you agree with my take?

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!

<3 Er

erica m. chapman is a YA writer by night, workin' for the cause by day. Fan of football, especially Lions and Michigan. She loves alternative music, Foo Fighters, animals, reading, golf and playing her guitar. She resides in Michigan where she sits quietly typing her next story on her macbook in her Detroit Lions Snuggie. You can also find her at


  1. I tend to think of revisions as the umbrella under which all activity after the first draft or creation phase hides. Edits are the part of the revision process where I nit pick the MS to death. Frequently during the edits I'm muttering to myself about WTH??? did I really make that mistake? Rewrites are when my mind starts balking at the words on the page and the word no repeats on a loop until I delete the offending verbiage.

    And believe it or not, I love the revision process because it's like molding a finished product out of the raw clay.

  2. LOL!! Sounds about right ;o)

    Yeah, I kind of use them interchangeably myself. I say I'm revising for everything I do other the first draft writing ;o)

  3. For me, revising is more like... reading through it & picking out points that need work. Then you get to work on the rewriting and/or editing. To me, editing is the finer point stuff where you can get really nitpicky. It is also getting RID of stuff that was previously there. Then rewriting is actually rewriting an entire chunk, or even just rewriting an entire sentence.

    I'm probably wrong on all of the above, but that's ok. :D

  4. Trisha, LOL no one is wrong! That's the beauty of it. I mean if the dictionary can't make up its mind, how could we? Your way makes total sense ;o)

  5. This was way cute! Good job, Erica! I think I brought my completed MS back into the Editing phase... Sigh, it's never ending, is it?

  6. Eleni, Thank you! It really doesn't, does it ;o) I guess when we (hopefully) someday publish them, but even then, I'm sure I'll see stuff after that ;o)

  7. Heehee, I love your pictures! You are so cute! This is a wonderful check list to go by. Great post! :D