5 Fun Editing Tips

Let's Eat Grandma!

Yes, I said fun.

You’ve written your book, but now it’s time to buckle down and polish it up with some good ol’ fashioned editing. I know what you’re thinking…

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Now stop that. This is your baby we’re talking about here. You need to feed them, nurture them, teach them tricks and, eventually, send them out into the world. But every parent has a hard time letting go. So, enjoy it while it lasts and then set them free.

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#1 – Breathe in. Breathe Out. Now Shake It All About.

Do whatever you need to do to psych yourself up for the process. Grab some coffee or tea, a little something to eat, take a walk, clear your head. If you go in stressed, you’ll only be miserable while editing and find any excuse not do it. Case in point: I am writing this post when I should be editing.

#2 – They’re The Same, But Different

Along the way, you’ll find those pesky homonyms – words that are spelled or sound similar, but have different meanings. Write them down as you see them, so you can do a general word search of them later. If you notice a pattern of errors, write them down as well. You can focus on them later.

#3 – Backwards Work Your Read

No, silly–read your work backwards. But not like that. Well… you can, but it may drive you a bit bonkers. My advice is to start with the last paragraph on the last page and read it. Then read the paragraph before it and so on. Don’t freak. You’re not reading for content–you should’ve already done that. It takes your mind of the story itself and focuses on spelling and grammar.

#4 – Make Someone Else Do It

Yeah! Why should we be the only ones to suffer, er, I mean have fun? We ALL need an extra set of eyes to catch what we’ve missed. We know our story in and out, so there comes a time when we just start reading what we  KNOW it should say, rather than what it ACTUALLY says. You don’t need some super genius English professor–just someone who knows the basics. If you feel your work needs it, hire an editor.

#5 – Put Your Hands in the Air and Back Away From the Book!

That’s it. Don’t do anything stupid now. It’s high time you learned you will NEVER be fully satisfied with your book. You are your own worst enemy. Only you can get out of this alive. But the first step is admitting you have a problem. There, there–we’re all here to help you get through this. Sooner or later, everybody goes to the zoo.

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The point is when something isn’t fun, MAKE it fun. Editing is something most writers dread, but we all gotta do it. So just do it already!

And on that note…

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12 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Superphoenix and commented:
    Something that I should be doing.

    Reply
  2. I wrote a book?!? WOOHOO!!!

    for step 2, better o start at the last word and read word by word to the front to check for typos. having written the words, the eye will see what it expects to see written, and miss mistakes that are there.

    Reply
  3. I really liked this post, and, ya know what? I really like editing, too. Call me crazy, but with every little paragraph perfected and every little typo snipped off, I often feel better about the novel as a whole.

    Reply
  4. Reblogged this on Seumas Gallacher and commented:
    good blog for indie authors …enjoy

    Reply
  5. Step 3 is an inspired idea that I had never come across before Seumas. I will definitely try it next time I am editing.

    Reply
  6. Apologies M.S. about my last comment, I didn’t realise this wasn’t Seumas’s blog, not very observant of me. Seumas had reblogged your blog and it was appearing in my Reader, so I assumed it was his.

    Reply
  7. Yes, I’ve never tried reading it backwards either, although I’ve done in it random bits. What I like, when I’m checking (both for content but also rest) is to read it aloud. It’s easier to spot odd phrasing and repetitions, and see how the dialogue and story sounds…

    Reply
  8. Hi, M.S.
    I’m with guyportman on thinking Step 3 is inspired. I’m always getting bogged down in the story when editing. Thanks!

    Reply
  9. There’s some good advice here! Thank you! I’m so glad that I saved this in my email inbox for a later reading! xoJulia

    Reply

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