Two Tips For Better Self-Editing

Liam J Cross

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When it comes to the time to edit your manuscript, there are probably a thousand other things you’d rather do – staring at a wall for eight hours is one of them, though you’ll probably end up doing that anyway.

There are no two ways around it, as a writer, the rewriting stages are always the least fun, and certainly the most laborious, but that doesn’t make this phase any less necessary. In fact, it’s widely known that writing a good book lies in a profoundly good ability to rewrite – that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

So, you can take this one of two ways. Either you can sit and complain about how you hate editing and how much you really wish you were still writing your first draft, or you can get on with it and begin making your first draft into that polished final piece. The choice is yours.

Though let me tell you, you aren’t going to get very far as a writer if you just write twenty different first drafts…

The key lies in the editing process, that’s just the plain truth, and luckily for you, I have some great tips that will turn you into an editing pro!

Reading Out Loud
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When reading the content of your manuscript back to yourself, try doing so aloud – this way it’ll be easier to put your finger on issues with sentence structure and fluency. It can be especially helpful in writing natural and realistic dialogue too.

Keep this in your mind when you next rewrite a piece of your writing and make sure to try it out, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much easier it becomes to weed out those pesky errors that you didn’t spot before.

The Waiting Game
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Upon finishing your first draft, set it aside and don’t take a single peek at it for as long as you can withstand. I’d advise staying away from your project for at least six weeks. This way, when you come to edit your manuscript the words will be fresh in your mind, mimicking how they sound to a first-time reader, thus making them easier to edit.

Chances are you’ve heard that one before, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hear it again. This particular piece of advice is well-recycled mainly because it is highly effective. If you haven’t tried it yet, make sure you do, and once again you’ll be surprised.

You get to some parts and can’t even remember writing them.

You sort of sit there like:

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Did I really write that?

I’m not entirely sure if that’s a good or a bad thing – it comes down to the quality. If the part you forgot about was well-written, then it would be a good thing I suppose. Though chances are, seeing as it’s first drafts we’re talking about, well-written will be far from the truth…

Take These and Execute

These pieces of advice will be a regular feature on my blog and are there to help you guys out. If you enjoy them, please let me know in the comments down below. If you have any questions about writing or just questions in general, please be sure to comment down below with those as well, I’d love to help you out.

That’s all for now. Work hard, put in the hours, and have fun whilst doing so.

And, as always, happy writing folks!



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