Saturday, January 23, 2016

Editing


by Cassie M. Shiels

Lately I have been doing a lot of editing. Thats what I get for writing I guess. :D We have to go back through and edit. The first thing that I have learned about editing that I wish I had known before was that it is so important to have someone else read through it. So Super important. They see things you don't! I know it is hard to find someone who has both your trust and will be honestly helpful. That is sometimes a hard balance to find, but seek that person out. They are invaluable!

I published my first book very wary of letting others read it and now I am paying that price. I am using beta readers to help me with a grammar edit after the book has been out almost a year, and I am having to go through the process now of fixing it, after going through the embarrassment of being told it was a fun story but full of quite a few errors. I knew grammar has always been my weakness but I let my fears keep me from getting help. Its okay though it will be better this second time around, but I learned that beta readers before a book is published vs. after is a much better idea.

The second thing that I think is so vital, is to put the book away for a while. I used to think this was a silly idea but honestly after it has sat for a week or more, things jump out at you that never would have before. You will read a sentence and think, what was I saying. You will start seeing mistakes that you would have glossed over before because you were so used to seeing those words. Put it away I know it is hard, but do a different project for a week or so and then come back. It is so helpful.

The third thing is to go through the whole thing again, after you think its pretty much at its best, with the sole purpose of taking out unnecessary words. I have started doing this recently and its making a huge difference to my writing. Everything is tighter, the sentences are neater, the story flows better.  You usually don't need  for example the word just, and that can also often be taken out. Cut the fluff, and it will make for a better book for sure.

There is a lot of writing and editing advice out there, but for me, in my writing life right now these are the big ones. The ones that are making a huge difference for me right now. I hope they will help you out with your writing too!

3 comments:

  1. I worked for a magazine for years. We had a designated proofer who looked for all of those things and switched that out so at least 3 people saw the item before it got published.

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  2. Good reminders all, Cassie! I am always amazed by how many errors I miss when I edit. It's always good to have at least 3 different sets of eyes look at a manuscript or article. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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  3. I agree with all you said about editing--cutting wordiness, how vital it is to give the novel a rest period, and how essential beta readers are to us. I've also joined a critique group where the members have taught me a lot too. We learn when we edit others' writing too. It helps us fine tune our own writing. Thanks for the post!

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