Saturday, September 12, 2015

Editing Self-published Novels 101

While reading some self-published novels, I noticed they shared similar editing problems. My post is not meant as a criticism; it is my intention to help authors publish their best work.

Check for echo. Delete or change any repetitive word used at the beginning and end of the same sentence. Substitute or remove reoccurring phrases, for example, “he/she walked briskly out of the room.” (Do you know how many times I had to rewrite my above sentences because of echo? More than five!)

Scan the manuscript with every judgmental fiber in your body looking for typing errors that spelling and grammar check won’t pick up. For example, typing “she’d” when you meant “she’s,” “then” instead of “the,” “of” for “if” or “on” and a hundred other typos.

Do your analogies make sense? If you’re trying to show how scared your character is and your analogy is a puppy swimming against the current in a kiddie pool, I’m not worried for the puppy’s or your character’s safety.

Look at your chapters's structure. Do they travel all over the map with no sense of purpose?

If your book has several major plots, consider making one more prominent. I need to know who I’m supposed to identify with.

Examine your dialogue. Could it be condensed? Is the dialogue misplaced to the point of confusion?

Edit your scenes. Are they all necessary? Could they be more concise?

Have a critical read by someone who will be brutal. Even if you only take half that person’s suggestions, your manuscript will be tighter and better for it.

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