I’ve been thinking a lot about this post. And I hope that I can organise it so that it will be of benefit to any writer who is like myself. A pantser…
Anyway here are several things that have helped me when ‘editing’ my own work.
Of course it hasn’t been an easy job, but a very worthwhile one. As the comments coming in now just on the first two chapters are looking promising. At least from all the writer and beta readers. It has yet to go to the professional I hope to be working with over the next couple months etc. at
I guess on that count I’ll have to report in on ‘what it is like to work with a mentor/editor’ 🙂 another time of course.
But for now here is my editing process.
1, print off a ‘rough copy’ and of course save that copy as a draft. Make no mistake you could delete something later that you want back. So always a good idea to keep several drafts throughout the process.
2, Leave it alone for a while. Ideally a few weeks, but when you are itching to get going this isn’t always possible.
3, Set yourself a small attainable goal for each day. As with Nanowrimo it is good to have a goal, so I set a daily one. To edit through as much of the novel on a ‘pass’ each day.
These ‘passes’ would be for ‘bad’ word phrasing. There is such a long list that I could accomplish a few of these each day, so that really helped.
I’d suggest looking up these words. A general search from google will give you a whole list of sites which list these. I won’t because it would make this post huge!
Okay, okay, here are a few. Just so you know what to look out for. These were my biggest overused words.
huge, large, small,
I said the list could really, go on and on.
Don’t get me started on ‘clichés’ either… they drive me crazy in reading other peoples writing, so I try and avoid those like the plague. (They still slip in now and again though)
There are sites which can help with this too. http://www.grammarly.com/ and another I discovered called ‘smartedit’ all these types of programs help with the editing process. And I’ve also found them enlightening too.
I would recommend both. 🙂
4, To work with other writers and readers. Find a group of people, some perhaps you’ve known for a while and others which you don’t know. Ask them to be readers, and to report back. They can help you spot things that your writing ‘eye’ can’t.
5, This is the last and utmost important part of the process. Hire an editor! You will need someone to go through your work on a professional level.
As a writer you cannot, cannot put work out there which is sub par. I’ve used a couple of editors over the last few years. Because my grammar and punctuation (mostly the comma) let me down.
I’ve had some ‘publishers’ trying to rush my process and one even wanted to publish my writing without it being edited by a pro, in the end I withdrew from their publication because I wouldn’t do that to myself. The last thing I would ever want is to be ridiculed for lack of my knowledge on the above.
I know my weaknesses, do you?
If you don’t, you need to find them and then work with them. But, don’t let yourself down by not doing the best that you can.
Over the last few years, I’ve learned more and more about grammar and punctuation, but I just can’t grasp it. My writing has improved to no end. But, it still isn’t perfect. I like it to be as perfect as I can get it, then I let a pro work their magic. Eventually, it can be free for the world to see. 🙂
Now what I’d like you to do, any writer who reads my post, please add your ‘bad’ habits. My intention is to make a file, then if anyone requests it. I can wiz it over.
Please feel free, or send me an email of your best ones. I love to learn and the more I read and experience the more I absorb.
My over used word is ‘that’ and phrase ‘in the end’
I enjoyed your post. I’m in the midst of editing my manuscript and here is my list of bad/overused words:
– walked / wandered
– but (almost every paragraph has a but in it)
I also have a habit of using too many exclamation marks!!! and using character’s names too frequently when it is obvious who I’m talking about.
I’d love to see your file with everyone’s bad habits once you put it together.
All the best with your editing!
Thanks Alison, we can learn so much from each other that it helps. Also knowing we’re not alone in the process helps. 🙂 Good luck with editing and sure, I’ll post when I’ve got a concrete file of bits…
bad habits – would be using a proper name when I don’t need to. IE keep repeating the POV’s name too much when it’s obvious whose head we’re in.
Not getting the subjunctive right – IE using was instead of were.
Muddling bare and bear – I’m terrible at that and further and farther. Never get them right.
Good idea to search for words you tend to overuse but be careful you don’t just replace and create another word you’ve overused!!
Helpful post there, Kanundra!
Thanks and your comments are noted. 🙂 I think we do overuse some, ‘nodding’ is one of my worst, but I also get tough with myself for picking an alternative.
I’ll stop by your page too again too.
I also tend to have my characters nod a lot. Fortunately with that one, there are a number of other ways to ilustrate the motion (inclined his head, bobbed her head, dipping his head, bowing her head, etc.)! (>^-‘)>
Thanks, will defo have to go through and remove some of those for different ones. Will be on the hunt for some others, I’ll post the ones I use 🙂
Farther is a matter of distance. “I can throw a ball farther than you can.”
Further is a matter of degree. “We couldn’t be further apart on this issue.”
My post from today described my bad dialogue habits. I am indirect, “sort of”, “mostly”. And, I start many of my dialogue phrases with, “well”. Your post is perfect timing for me, I will start editing in 6 more weeks.
The Smartedit program even though I’ve only got the trial for now, is great. You wouldn’t believe how many adverbs I got rid of. There are also so many other great things it looks for. I can’t wait to get the full program 🙂 highly recommended.
Oh, and I haven’t even started on the dialogue bad habits yet, lol… this is all in the prose. oops….
Rhetorical questions are my problem…. Sometimes to get my head into the story I ask the reader a question and then I forget to take them out – opps!
oops, indeed. I’ve not tried that, but maybe I will 🙂
I use a lot of long sentences and too many adverbs.
Very useful post, thank you 🙂
Thanks for the follow, and I look forward to reading more about your writing/publishing journey! I hope some of the info on my blog will help with your self-editing, too!
I am sure it will, as it already has. 🙂 thanks