Three Incredibly Useful Tips For Better Self-Editing

Liam J Cross

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Ah the rewriting phase – that glorious time period that makes you want to have a nice soothing walk through the outdoors with just you and the crisply fresh air, so that you can locate the highest possible bridge from which to fling yourself.


It’s no secret that writers much prefer writing their story as opposed to editing it. When creating something from scratch it’s all fun and games. You’re all set to go, ready to embark on a brand new adventure, and your excitement has run into overdrive because you aren’t quite sure where you’re going to end up. It’s all fresh and exciting, and it’s this excitement that gets us through it at a considerable pace – the time just seems to fly by.

But the rewriting stage, that’s the bane of a lot of writers’ lives. When refining your story it isn’t half as fun. All the joy sapped away because you already know what’s coming, you already know that the adventure is over; the destination unraveled. In these stages everything becomes way more technical, and you have to start thinking a lot more about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

It’s sort of like the difference between slapping the paint onto the canvass and then crafting it into something beautiful. The latter stage is the editing process, and what a process it is…

It’s a rough time for many writers, you aren’t alone in that one. But where you may be a little lonely in your quest is more on the side of guidance; a helping hand to guide your pen along the paper, your fingertips along the keys, so that you can craft the best book you possibly can.

Well that would be me, I’m that helping hand.

Go Big or Go Elsewhere

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Now this tip usually goes against the usual advice, but I have my reasons for recommending it as a strategy – the main one being that as a person, I don’t tend to stick to the typical trends and themes that society sets.

I always advise starting off big. What I mean by this is that I think it’s wise to 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 handled as soon as they’re spotted.

It’s easier to fix these issues as soon as you spot them, that way you won’t be left scratching your head in wonder when it comes to remembering where the heck you saw them. Plus, if you’re anything like me, spotting a mistake and then proceeding to leave it as a mistake will drive you crazy – I have to fix them right away.

But then again, I am an editor, it’s what I do.

Don’t Settle for Less

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It’s so easy to fall into that trap of just throwing in the towel, of getting to a certain stage and telling yourself you’ve done enough and that your draft is pretty much ready for submission.

Well, in this case, I’m afraid that ‘pretty much ready’ isn’t ready enough.

Never settle for anything less than perfection, or as close to it as you can get. Don’t just throw in the towel on a scene or chapter because it is taking you a while to edit. We all come across those chapters that are nothing but a huge mess at some point during our draft, and yes they are a massive ache to fix, but ignoring them isn’t going to achieve anything. They need to be fixed if you want your book to be good. They need to be fixed if you’re seeking publication. They just need to be fixed in general.

So fix them you shall!

Call in the Cavalry

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There are a lot of things in life that we can do on our own; writing a book is not one of them. Or maybe I should say: writing a book worthy of publishing is not one of them.


Every traditionally published book goes through a rigorous regime. They’re passed through team after team of editors, each of them specialising in a specific subject, and then they’re edited again. Authors are provided with many guiding eyes when their book is published, so why should you be left all on your lonesome?

Don’t leave it all to yourself where writing a book is concerned.

It’s always a good idea to get yourself a nice little team of beta readers – people to read your draft and provide you with honest feedback. This is especially helpful if you cannot afford to hire a professional, because you’ll still get some feedback without the cost. Sacrificing on the quality of that feedback shouldn’t hinder you too much, so it’s a win for everyone involved. Unless of course your book totally sucks, in that case I’m pretty certain your readers will have lost a little, but I’m sure they’ll live.

Alternatively, if you do require the services of a professional, you can take a trip to my services page, where you’ll learn everything you need to know about what I offer.

That’s All For Now

I hope these tips have been useful to you in some way. Incorporate them into your editing process and see if you notice any differences in how you find the process as a whole. Stay tuned for even more writing and editing tips, and give my blog a follow if you want to stay on top of those posts.

That’s a wrap on my end, now all there’s left for you to do is to hop to it – that book of yours isn’t going to edit its damn self!


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