The following marks the birth of a much more regular content schedule here on my website, as I’m really interested in creating a platform to help out, inspire and give back to the community. So as well as these editing and writing tips, I’ll be posting writing prompts, author interviews, motivational rants and editorial reviews of people’s work.
So, for this post, let’s get right into it!
Stephen King said it best, editing truly is divine. I guess that’s a little bias coming from a professional editor, but I also guess you’ll just have to deal with that fact on your own terms.
I like to think of editing as sprinkling the pages with luscious herbs and spices once the pan has been filled. Chopping up the ingredients and loading them up into the pan is the drafting process, making them taste great is editing. But in the same breath, editing is not always adding things to your manuscript. In fact, in most instances, it’s actually the opposite; it’s the art of deduction. You must deduct the unnecessary fragments but at the same time tell a much more colourful, detailed story. Sounds tough, right? Don’t worry, it is.
Luckily for you though, I’m here to save the day with a couple of simple tips to apply to your editing process, and here they are.
When reading the contents of your manuscript back to yourself, try doing so aloud. This way, it’ll be much easier to put your finger on issues with sentence structure and fluency. It can be especially helpful in writing natural and realistic dialogue too – if it sounds stupid when you read out loud, then chances are it is.
The only downside to this tactic is that as a result of it, you can end up looking a little wacky. But you’re a writer, so I’m guessing you’re used to that…
Go Big or Go Home
Even though I’m guessing you’re already at home…
But the message remains the same: fix any huge errors in your manuscript before you even consider looking into the more intricate details. If you discover a major plot-hole or a cluster of chapters that look as though they were written by a pre-schooler, then fix those first. You can worry about the smaller things later, but bigger issues have to be dealt with as soon as they’re spotted.
I actually just fix them as I move through with a proofread. If I see it, I solve it – that’s usually a good way to work with things.
Now Get Going
There you have it, two new tactics to try out in your editing process. Now you can go off and put them into play, in order to create the best manuscript you possibly can.
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I wish you great success with your edits, and as always, happy writing folks!