Editing. Many writers agree that this is hands-down the worst part of publishing a book. Writing can easily be described as a fun and creative process, while editing is more analytical, long, tedious, stressful, and oftentimes boring. However, having a well-edited book can easily separate you from the rest. Today, I’m going to list four steps that can make it easy to self-edit your book, and tomorrow you’ll find a snippet of the freebie that I created with editor, and writer, Haley Sulich to further help you get your manuscript ready for a professional editor. The blog post, and freebie, will be titled: "What Your Editor Wishes You Knew Before You Submit Your Manuscript."
Step Two: If you have Microsoft Word, use the text-to-speech option, and have your manuscript read back to you. This can help you identify words that don’t make sense or sentences that don’t flow well in your manuscript.
Step Three: Print a copy of your manuscript and go through it chapter by chapter. Is there a section that’s awkward? Do you need to add more detail? Do you need to delete or rewrite a section? Is a section almost perfect but still has room for improvement? Are there words that need to be deleted or changed? Does a scene need to be moved? Do facts need to be checked? Are names, descriptions, etc. consistent throughout your story? Is there a plot hole? Write down any problems you encounter in the margins of your printed pages, or in a separate notebook so you can come back to it later.
Step Four: Once you have a list of changes you want to make in your manuscript, go back through and modify it. I would start with the big problems, like plot holes, because they might influence, or impact, the little things. Don’t focus on the length of your list of changes. You may have to change a lot, or you may only have to change a few things, but the important thing is to focus and go slow. Remember, you want to keep your reader in mind while editing. Are there things the reader needs to know? Ask yourself: How can I make this scene or this chapter better?
I also want to point out that editing as you go is another option that you can take advantage of, but you want to make sure that you don't "get stuck" in editing mode and stop writing because you feel Chapter Two will never be good enough. If this happens, try to force yourself to stop editing and continue writing. Or, you may want to perform a self-edit every ten chapters or so to make it easier when you do a final edit when your manuscript is done.
I hope this guide was helpful in helping you perform a self-edit before your book gets sent to an editor. Do you have any other helpful tips or suggestions? If so, please leave them down below. Also, don't forget to check out the main blog tomorrow, Sunday, January 19, 2018, at 12 PM EST to get a sneak peek at the first portion of the editing freebie that I created with editor, and author, Haley Sulich. The full freebie will release in the Resource Library Saturday, January 27, 2018, at 12 PM EST. In the meantime, feel free to check out Haley's website here.