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.