In this weeks edition of author life, I’ll be discussing the wonderful world of editing. It’s quite apt that editing is this week’s topic, as that’s what I’ve been doing for the last month. It’s also why I’m late delivering this next segment in my author life series.
The first book you’ll ever write can be both the hardest and the easiest for different reasons. When you’re new to writing it takes time to improve your craft. Your first manuscript may never get published but that’s OK because by writing it, you’re improving all the time.
On the other hand, it’s easier as there are no deadlines to contend with. You’re not multi-tasking either. Writing is a business, and if you want to make a success of it I recommend you produce more than one book. It’s not uncommon for me to be editing one book, writing another while plotting my next book at the same time. Then there’s the time involved in
It’s not really ‘The End’ when you type those two words on the bottom of your manuscript, it’s the beginning. Because now you’ve got to go back and edit your work. If you’ve got the time, let it rest a little. Even putting it aside for a week can make such a difference as you return to your work with a fresh pair of eyes. Everyone approaches editing differently, but I recommend you don’t edit as you write. They are left and right side of your brain activities, so keep writing and worry about editing later. I usually write a few thousand words then self-edit it the following day before I write some more. This process of editing and writing works well as I refresh myself with the story then give myself permission to write new words without worrying too much about the quality as I know I’ll fix them the next day. Self-editing is a very important part of the process and it’s important to go with what works for you. A lot of authors swear by beta readers and writing groups. I don’t use them, as books are so subjective. What one person may enjoy, the other may deem problematic, so the only person’s advice that I really value is that of my editor. It’s not to say that I don’t value my readers – they are at the heart of everything I write. But after several years of feedback, I trust my in-built sense of their reading preferences and deliver accordingly.
So who do you NOT listen to for advice? By all means pass your work onto family, friends and work colleagues, just don’t expect an honest assessment of your work. The thing is, they won’t want to hurt your feelings. Are they your target market? Do they read a lot of books in that particular genre? We all need constructive criticism,
Self-edit: Keep going over your manuscript until you are sick to the teeth of it. Read it out loud, play out each part. It helps with dialogue no end. MS Word has this nifty feature which reads your work back to you. It’s great when you’re fatigued and can pick up spelling mistakes quicker than reading it yourself. I have blogged previously about recommended writing tools, and I find Grammarly an invaluable resource at this stage.
Copyeditor: They go over your words with a fine tooth comb, focusing on grammar, punctuation and spelling. Some really good copyeditors will also point out flaws in continuity and such things as name changes and date errors. After the structural edit, chapters can often be chopped and changed, and in the case of my most recent novel, a character you’ve killed off can be brought back to life. This is when errors creep in. It should take a few days to work through your copyedit once they return your manuscript to you.
Proofreader: It’s their job to read the book as a reader would, catching any errors which have slipped through the net. There shouldn’t be any structural changes at this point, and fixing any lingering errors should only take you a day or two.
When you’re working against a deadline, editing can be
That’s all for this week. If you enjoyed my post please give it