X is for Xesturgy (with free editing checklist!) #AtoZChallenge

Posted April 27, 2019 in A-Z Challenge / 1 Comment

The Blogging from A-Z Challenge continues today. Throughout April I’m posting about my life as a writer, including my inspirations, frustrations and celebrations.

X is always a tricky letter, and as this is my 6th time doing the A-Z, I’ve already covered most of the obvious ‘X’ words. So, I had to go searching for a new word that would fit my writing related theme. I eventually stumbled across ‘Xesturgy’.

Xesturgy means the act of ‘polishing’ something (usually stones) and originates from Ancient Greek. Xesturgy is a vital part of the writing process. A first draft is never ready to be submitted. It’s like a precious gem that is tarnished and scratched. It has value, but you wouldn’t put it straight into the shop window in that state. There are always plot holes and structural weaknesses to be corrected, characters to develop and language to clarify and tighten.

A manuscript must be polished over and over until it shines. Typically, the author will write three or more drafts of a piece of writing before submitting it to beta-readers for feedback. Then they will edit it and send it to beta-readers again-perhaps a few times more, before they even begin querying it with publishers. Even after a manuscript is accepted for publication, it will go through many rounds of xesturgy by the author and editor before it is complete.

What exactly does xesturgy involve? Well, the process of polishing is different for every writer, but it will normally involve:

  • Revising the plot/structure
  • Developing the characters
  • Cutting redundant parts to make it more concise
  • Tightening the language to make the writing more compelling
  • Checking the spelling, punctuation and grammar
  • Formatting according to submission guidelines

My personal method is to keep a checklist which I go through methodically when I’m editing so I don’t forget anything. I then polish my writing further based on recommendations from others.

Free Editing & Polishing Checklist

My checklist is compiled of various editing tips that I have picked up from writers, editors and publishers over the years. It also contains links to some helpful articles and books. It’s by no means an exhaustive list and I’m adding new steps to it all the time when I discover a new way to improve my writing.

Download my free Editing & Polishing Checklist.

Before you go…

How do you polish your writing? Do you have a specific method? Did you know of the word ‘Xesturgy’?

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