Are You In Editing Mode?

39017956125_29104d6f1e

 

At it stands, now, I have gone through the editing process with six books. I learn more each time I get to this step in the publishing process. So, for what it’s worth, I recommend you use these people, in this order:

Do an ongoing edit of your manuscript, as you share your submissions with your critique group, chapter by chapter, from Prologue thru Epilogue.

When your book is finished, edit your manuscript yourself (at least a couple of times—more, if you are a perfectionist, like me).

Send it to your Beta Readers. They will catch a few things, too.

Send it to your Editor and make the suggested corrections.

Finally, let your Critique Group Read it in its entirety. Note: This is a new step. Here’s why I am suggesting taking the time to do this: my group accepts submissions from each other twice per month.

Often the chapters are out of order. And, because this process can take upward of one year, it is not like reading a book, chapter by chapter. They miss the flow and this especially affects the understanding of the timeline. (It isn’t their fault. These two factors make it almost impossible for them to give good feedback in this area).

If your critique group agrees to read each other’s work–all the way through, one last time–they will be able to experience your story from beginning to end and catch any glitches.

Yes, it is a bigger commitment and not for the faint of heart, but if you are truly committed to help each other be the best you can be, then the results can be of great value.

In talking with my group, they were positive about trying this approach—at least once.

I suspect it will be time well spent.

Looking Back and Going Forward

37394997954_a5bea2336a

 

Looking back over your last year of writing, have you made adjustments or have you kept doing whatever it was that you were doing on January 1?

My guess is you’ve made changes along the way, learned things, broke some bad habits, and put into practice new techniques.

You are looking at the craft of writing in a much different way than you did a year ago. 

The overall goal of writing is improvement. So is the goal of revising our manuscript once the draft is complete. 

I view revising as dissecting—just like we did in science class in high school.

It’s taking my story apart and looking at/improving each individual section, and then putting it all back together again.

It may have been impossible to put Humpty Dumpty back together again, but not so with your writing. It can be changed, reworked, rewritten, reordered until it looks much different than it did in draft form.

I begin by either selecting my known weaknesses to work on or, just what I deem important.  I go through the entire book (focusing on one at a time) looking for those things and “fixing” them. In my first book, for instance, I noticed that each chapter began with the main character’s name. So, I rewrote each beginning paragraph.

You’ll need to determine for yourself just what things are necessary. Here is the list of what I go through:

Repetitious words, past tense verbs, emotions, descriptions, flow.

I check each character’s description against my master list. If Sally has green eyes in chapter one, they’d better be the same color in chapter fourteen.

Quotation marks, italics, indentations, misspellings, etc.

Last lines of each scene (I make sure they entice the reader to keep turning the page).

Timeline/order (I once read a book where the girl’s cat died in chapter 14. Then, in chapter 15, the cat was very much alive and purring on her lap!) You don’t want huge mistakes like this to spoil your story.

Seasons/holidays (If these are mentioned in the book, they need to be in sequence) Ages (pay attention to age progression throughout).

As you can see, the list is long. I add to it for each new story, it seems.

No book will be perfect, but look especially for the mistakes you know that you tend to make over and over again. Keep polishing until your story gleams!

Next week, editing. 

 

Online Editing Programs

38578626601_57fe16f4a6

 

Today’s blog is short and sweet—Part 1 of a two-part series on Online Editing Programs.

A couple of weeks ago, a writer-friend told me about an online manuscript editing tool, AUTOCRIT, that automates the most tedious editing tasks for him. 

It has helped him in the areas of dialogue, excessive use of adverbs, identifying cliches, repetitious words/phrases, pacing of sentences and paragraphs, and so on. The software works with the internet browser to give summary reports, overviews, and suggestions. 

A writer uploads their work into AUTOCRIT, polishes it in more than 20 areas based on his designated genre. When satisfied with the result, the revised copy is then exported back into the original writing program (say, WORD, for example).

I signed up for a 7-Day-Free trial. I found AUTOCRIT to be easy to understand and use. It really helped me see things I was doing—and correct them—while writing. I liked having my chapter look and sound great BEFORE sending it on to a LIVE editor.

To be sure, this isn’t the only online editing program available. So, before I commit to AutoCrit’s reasonable monthly fee, I have another to check out.

I will post results/findings on it next week.

If you are like me, you want your finished book to be the best it can be. So, while you are waiting on my next blog post, you may want to check out AUTOCRIT for yourself.