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”
When I was a brand new writer, a number of well-established authors helped me. They gave me advice about my blurbs, how I structured my stories, my phrasing — essentially everything an early-stage writer needs to get a handle on things. Now, five years later, I won’t claim to be well established myself, but I do have my first million words written, and I do my best to return the favor by helping others who are at the beginning of their writing journey. As I do, I see many of the same mistakes repeated over and over.
The good news is, writing rules can be broken, and effectively so. I am in the camp that says you have to truly understand a rule before you can break it effectively, though. In this post, I’m not talking about rules so much as generally accepted best practices. If you disagree with what I say here, I won’t argue with you. I will only say that these things are what work for me. Continue reading “On Weasel Words and Other Writing Tips for Authors”
This should be called “Mistakes I Made That You Shouldn’t” series. Once more, you lucky people
are going to will get the benefit of my lengthy writing experience. As in, lengthy writing is the problem. In other words, I’m editing a novel I wrote several years ago and cutting out all the junk I have since learned not to put in. If some of you are now where I was then, these examples could be of use in tuning help tighten up your own language. Let’s see how many words we can save if we are firm with ourselves. Continue reading “Writing Tip: Trim Your Language”
If you join an online writers group, talk will eventually turn to editing: either the revisions/edits authors make to their own work or those done with the help of a word-wrangling professional. Often when I’m involved in one of those discussions, I get a sense that a lot of writers think the editing process is 1) like being forced to drink liquefied kale; 2) anathema to their creativity; and 3) completely alien to them.
We’ve had some posts about how and why to hire an editor, so I won’t go into that here. I want to talk about what makes a good editor and some ways authors can put those qualities to work to make self-editing more productive and less painful. Continue reading “Tapping into Your Inner Editor”