Two Self-Editing Tips to Take Your Novel to the Next Level

Liam J Cross

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There’s a reason most writers hate the rewriting phase. In fact, there are a lot of reasons most writers hate the rewriting phase. It’s not as fun, it requires way more thought and analytical thinking, and it takes all the purity out of writing. It makes writing go from something that frees the soul to something that traps it and holds it prisoner.


What I’ve noticed though, is that despite the numerous reasons, despite the endless list, the reason most writers hate the rewriting phase comes down to one main factor: it’s hard. Rewriting is so damn hard that it makes you want to give up on your manuscript entirely. It makes you want to cry and scream at your laptop for merely existing. It makes you lose your mind.

But I’m here to tell you that it no longer has to be that way, because I post regular content across all of my social media platforms that will help you in your quest to create the best book you possibly can.

Focus on the Flow

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One of the most common errors I find in the books that I edit is a lack of a natural and smooth flow in the writing. It’s tough to structure your sentences so that your writing flows like the water from a fresh mountain spring. Tough, but not impossible.

One great way to improve the flow of your sentences is to focus on the word ‘and’, or more so, the overuse of said word. Try not to overuse the word ‘and’. Instead try to switch it up with your writing, using comma placement such as the one I have just used to connect the segments of your sentences together.

This can really help with the flow of your sentences, giving your manuscript a much crisper feel overall.

Highlight Important Moments

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It goes without saying that the important moments in your plot should really stand out to your reader, and whilst telling you to make sure they do may sound obvious, what’s not so obvious is how to actually go about making them stand out.

There are a number of ways you can make key events stick out. In my opinion, showing the reader the events rather than telling them how they unfold, is one of the most effective ways. A great way to really make sure you’re showing is by making use of literary techniques such as simile and metaphor. These techniques can be used to highlight key events such as a plot twist or character death.

Here’s an example. If your protagonist’s wife is killed, to show his sadness don’t just write ‘he was devastated’, make sure you are showing that devastation instead. So you could write something like this:

‘A tear ran down Clyde’s cheek. It held a the glint of the moonlight with such ease that it was almost as if the moon was born in his eyes. He doubled over and gently placed the flowers onto the grave, taking great care to make sure the bouquet stayed intact. Life was never going to be quite the same for Clyde. With Angela dead, he knew that the songs they once listened to would never sound the same again. He knew that his soul could no longer dance without the tune of hers.’

This is a great way of moving the plot forward, but it also hits the reader right in the feels, which is always your aim at times like these. If the reader doesn’t feel the urge to shed a tear at the time of a big death, then you haven’t showed it with enough devastation.

Master These Techniques; Master the Art of Fiction

Mastering the basics is important in any field of expertise. You can never reach expert status without first mastering the basics. These strategies are fairly straight-forward, but they are by no means easy to master. You’ll have to work extra hard to conquer the perils of showing vs telling and the clarity of your sentences, so you had better get to it right now.

Or if it’s late at night and you’re like me (I’m writing this late right now,) then maybe you should head to sleep first. But whatever you do, make sure you get some writing done at some point when you wake up. These techniques aren’t going to master themselves.


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