Thursday, October 7, 2010

Editing Your Book-Help!

Hate editing? Maybe these tips will help make editing less daunting.

Writers enjoy writing! The creativity that flows from head to hand is a miracle and no writer wants the flow to stop. But now the book is written and before it can be published, it needs to edited.

What? Your book is perfect?

Maybe so, but let’s look at editing just in case.

First, print out your story and read it out loud. The mistakes will be more obvious. Your book still may be perfect, but what about when you put ‘cute’ instead of ‘cut’. Spell check won’t pick up the mistake. Mark the mistake; circle it in red, cross it out in orange, whatever works for your creative mind.

You might notice a few other mistakes while you’re reading your story out loud. Did you overuse the word ‘really’ or ‘awesome’? Did you notice many cliches? Did your characters say ‘hi’ and ‘how’s it going’ to each other a lot? As you read your story out loud, you will also be able to find character ‘voice’ easier.

Your book is almost perfect.

Now it’s time to show it to someone. Writers need thick skin to allow someone else to read their work. A critique group is a good forum. Or you can pay an editor. Or have your distant aunt who loves grammar to read your story and edit it for you. Another pair of eyes will show you what else you may have missed. What about the dog in your story? Did you tell the reader what breed it was or color? What writers see in their minds may need make it to the paper.

Are you sick of the of your story yet? Yes? Than put it on the shelf, or shut off the computer and walk away from it for a few days. This will be hard to do because the two have you have been joined at the hand for weeks or months. But like any good relationship, time apart will make you stronger. Your piece will feel fresh and you, the writer, will be refreshed!

What's the best way you edit?
Do you any tips on editing?


Julie Daines said...

I pretty much depend on my awesome critique group to tell me everything that's wrong with my story! They're a great bunch of writers and give me a lot of valuable advice. You know, sharks, pebbles, policemen...

Kay Tee said...

My "editing secret" is the AutoCrit Editing Wizard. It really helps me find the weak points in my manuscript.

It has a readability check, too, which is handy when you're writing for kids.

Scott said... reads your work back to you in one of a few natural voices. Listening to your work read in an even, unemotional voice helps you hear rhythms, repeated words, awkward sentences, and more.

I haven't used this for a while, but I've been thinking about it lately. Time to dig it out again.

Taffy said...

I agree with crit groups. They are soooo helpful!