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Rated: E · Non-fiction · How-To/Advice · #1498347
Details about the WDC Edit Points feature and the benefits for writers and reviewers
Ever since my first days on WDC, I've used the often underutilized function on WDC known as edit points (EPs). In fact, after almost 300 reviews of short stories on this site, I have yet to see anyone else use edit points in their pieces for more detailed feedback. More often, I've heard reviewers say they weren't sure how to use the function or what the benefits are. I've also heard confusion from writers on how to enable EPs when I suggest it. Therefore, let's look further into this function's benefits for the writer and reviewer. You can see EPs throughout this piece as you read and practice leaving comments if you wish.I will regularly review and clear them as I'm available so comments are always welcome.~0~

From the Writer's View~1~
As writers, we delight in receiving detailed feedback on our work, both as to how well it works and what could be improved. The more specific and detailed the review is, the more improvements we can consider and possibly make. Edit points allow the writer to focus on very important aspects like grammar, word choice, and spelling as well as the overall review. It's simple for a reviewer to highlight a characterization or plot flaw with a few clicks. ~2~

Using edit points is a judgement call for each writer, based on known strengths and weaknesses. If the writer is uncomfortable with the first draft, then EPs may not necessarily a good choice as the piece may receive a great deal of editing suggestions rather than higher order concerns such as plot, theme, dialogue, and characterization. However, most importantly, this tool allows for the writer to focus on overall issues if given in a review as well the smaller, line by line editing issues when given by the reviewer. Therefore, it makes it possible to improve your writing with every piece you edit, from overall plot issues all the way to commonly misspelled words. Patterns and areas of weakness emerge as a result.~3~

Ease of Use~4~
As with any function, Edit Points should be easy to use and apply. Rarely have I found a writing tool so simple, so perfectly functional (except perhaps for the Review Tool which is another piece of programming ingenuity). Edit points are a blend of the comment feature found in Microsoft Word and an intuitive, HTML-based, streamlined option available for each reviewer of the piece. ~5~

Anyone can submit edit points by clicking on the small red numbers within a piece and typing comments. No one can see the comments other than the reviewer when they're entered and the writer when they are enabled. This function does not enable anyone else to edit the piece, only offer editing suggestions.~6~

Enabling Edit Points~7~
Enabling edit points is a simple process. First, you want to use the edit function of WDC if the item is already created. If posting a new piece, enabling it can only occur after creating it. Edit points can be found in Section 5 of a static item or a book. Edit points are available for all membership levels, however your membership will determine how many edit points are available to you. Therefore it's important to choose the edit point locations throughout the piece that will maximize the piece based on what's available for your membership. ~8~

Free: 1 item maximum with 10 Edit Points (EPs) per item~9~
Basic: 2 items maximum with 25 EPs per item~10~
Upgraded: 10 items maximum with 100 EPs per item~11~
Premium: 25 items maximum with 1,000 EPs per item~12~

There are four options: line breaks, paragraph breaks, most punctuation, and right-aligned breaks. For longer pieces, the best option is either line breaks or right-aligned breaks because it allows you to potentially put edit points throughout the piece until the end. For shorter pieces that you're looking for more of a line-by-line critique, you can include them at the line breaks or if you're having trouble with your punctuation, use the punctuation option.~13~ I highly recommend putting notes into pieces that contain EPs and letting your reviewers know what you're looking for feedback on specifically. That helps the reviewer and writer communicate together more efficiently.

From the Reviewer's View~14~
Once edit points are enabled, reviewers can use them as valuable tools for pointing out important issues within the piece, be they large or small, good or bad, with ease. Generally if EPs are available I would tend to do an overall review of my thoughts with the review tool and then a more detailed line by line of the piece depending on the quality of the piece, time constraints and other issues. This is also an invaluable tool for reviewing groups. ~15~

If I find significant issues with the plot, characterization or overall writing style, I'm less apt to use edit points because the piece will undergo significant revisions and the story structure can change significantly, therefore a line-by-line critique would be a waste of my time except to point out patterns of issues (such as consistently spelling a word wrong or misusing punctuation). If I find the piece is relatively well written but needs editing for word choice, dialogue issues, additional descriptions and such, then I will use EPs to provide more detail to compliment a review.~16~

I hope to see a great deal more usage of this important tool. I feel that the review isn't the end of my communication with a reader. I like to develop a relationship and dive deeply into a piece. The EPs are an excellent way to do this.
© Copyright 2008 Charity Marie <3 Eyestar (cmstarrett at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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