So, you’ve finished your novel, let it sit, made some revisions, and now you’re ready to send it to an editor. Not quite. First you need to do some self editing.
But, you’re not good at editing, you say. Well, too bad. Get good. I’m not joking, and I’m not being flip, either. As an author, whether self-published or traditionally published, you need to be a decent self-editor. Does that mean you need to go back to school to get an English degree? Of course not. But, as a reader, you have an idea of what makes a good story. The point of editing is getting it ready for the world to see. That means you want a manuscript that flows smoothly and is free of errors. The good news is good editing is often as much about taking time and care in evaluating your manuscript than it is about being a grammar fiend. Yes, you want a professional editor in the end, but you doing a bang-up job with it first, helps for many reasons. First, it costs more for an editor to work with a sloppy manuscript than it does to work with a fairly clean one. [A big reason many authors send their manuscripts out to beta readers before editors – but you still need to self-edit first.] Second, a particularly sloppy manuscript that requires a lot of work from the editor will lead to editing fatigue. So many errors make the editor lose his or her freshness and certainly prevents them from looking forward to coming back to it.
So, if you’re not great at editing, but want to punch it up, how do you do it? Continue reading “Four Tips to Help You Self-Edit”
While so much of writing and being creative has remained the same over the millennia, the tools we use for writing and editing have changed dramatically in just the last century. While most people use technology for writing and editing, many are using it differently, allowing increased productivity and improved self-editing.
Today, we’ll take a quick look at ways authors can use standard technology tools to enhance their writing and editing. Continue reading “Old Tech, New Tricks: Using Standard Tools to Enhance Writing and Editing”
I use the Find and Replace tool in MSWorks a great deal while I’m editing. It works if you discover a consistent spelling mistake. It’s great for fixing names, especially when writing Fantasy, where I can never remember the spelling of my own characters’ names. But it’s good for other things as well, and when you get into formatting for publication, it takes on a whole new meaning.
I don’t pretend to be an expert, but I’ll mention a few of my favourite uses, and maybe our more experienced readers can add to the list in the Comments below. In my version of MSWorks I find this function in the “Edit” dropdown menu. Continue reading “Find and Replace: The Writer’s Best Friend”
One of the self-editing tips you hear all the time is to read your work aloud. It can be a big help for catching errors in your work. But what if you don’t have a place to read aloud to yourself? What if your cranky roommate would object?
You can get Microsoft Word to read your work to you. Built into the more recent versions of Office is a text-to-speech utility called, appropriately, Speak. I didn’t know about it until Richard Bender tipped us off – mainly because Word doesn’t put it front-and-center on any of its menus. But you can put it there yourself. Here’s how. Continue reading “Can We Talk?: Speak in Microsoft Word”