We all live in edit hell! Even if you claim you love it, you know you don't (shaking finger at you)! Unfortunately, editing skills separates a mediocre writer from a great writer in the self-publishing world. (Little secret: even traditionally published writers have to have extensive editing from their editors. NO ONE turns in a perfect book.)
I have never claimed to be a perfect writer. FAR FROM IT!! Over the past few years I have learned a few tips that help me self edit my books before I get them to my editor. I have to have an editor. It's only good business practice, but here are some ideas to help you along the way.
1. Just write!
Don't edit while you are writing. Get the words on the page and let your creative juices flow. If you worry about editing, you are going to get stumped and not get in your word count or ideas down.
If there is a blatant typo, yes change it. Don't go back and fix grammar, punctuation, etc....
2. Step away.
After you finish your novel, it's a good idea to step away for a couple days and let your mind have some down time. Use this time to read. Writers should read, read, read, and this would be a great time for that. Let your mind escape from your characters.
After a couple days go back and read your novel. You will be able to look at it with fresh eyes and catch some of those simple mistakes. Plus stepping away will give you fresh ideas and see plot holes. This is a good time to help layer your story-line.
3. Kindle it!
I use the word Kindle as the universal reader but I also mean any ereading device, this includes your phone or your PC. I always send my novel to the ereader before I send it to my editor and before I publish it, I send it to my ereader.
It's easier to spot mistakes on a different device. Plus I want to see exactly what it will look like when my readers will buy my book. More times than not I catch too short/long paragraphs for an ereader or formatting mistakes that need to be fix.
4. Cut Unnecessary words!
I use a lot of but, exclamation points, and goofy words on my blog. It's a place for me to just write and help authors. I really should take the time to write the blog, edit it and take my own advice. BUT this is where I get my words out and let my creative juices flow and I don't cut out the unnecessary words.
Don't do this with your manuscript! Cut out the repeating words, phrases, unnecessary adjectives (Lisa spoke loudly....Lisa screamed).
5. Use spell check!!
Spell check doesn't always catch the true editing issues, but it doesn't hurt to run it a couple times before you send it to your editor or before you publish. It's another set of eyes to get you to look at some issues that you might not have caught before hand. Missing words and homophones are not found using spell check, but it will help with the general, easy mistakes that easy for your eyes to miss.
6. Read your story out loud.
Reading out loud will help your trained ear hear the missing words or world flow. This is one of the strongest editing tips you can do to catch those missing words. Read each word carefully, slowly. We know our manuscripts so well that sometimes we can skip over the words, so take your time and truly read it like a readers!
7. Send it off!
Enough is enough. Once you think you have edited until your eyes and fingers have had enough, you've had enough and so has your manuscript. It's time to send it to the editor or publish it. Let it fly on its own!
Side note: It's taken me years and over three editors to find a perfect fit for me. If you go look at any of my reviews, you will find several reviews that claim my books have editorial issues. AND THEY DO....luckily, I just had all of them re-edited by my fabulous editor, Judy Beatty!! She is doing a guest post on Monday!! AND giving away a free edit! Be sure to stop by!
Do you have any tips for our writing community about editing?
BTW....If you get a chance pop over to Book Tour Radio! I'm being featured today! FUN!!