A-Z – Editing

Editing is important

Editing is important

Any writer knows that editing is just as important than writing! It is something that we need to do to knock our writing into shape. I don’t know you, but my first drafts are quite rough. As I tell the participants in my Young Writer’s Group, a first draft is meant to be bad… it’s the editing that turns it into something that readers will want to read.

When I write my first draft, I go through the following process (not always in this order):

  • Type out the manuscript – using the first draft, I type out my story again, this time self-editing. I add in details I may have missed first time around and filling in gaps that need filling
  • Print out the manuscript – I prefer editing using a print out of my manuscript and a grey pencil. I read the story to myself and write all over the print out, then type the changes into my latest draft. This also serves as a back up of my story!
  • Read out loud – I print out a copy of my manuscript and read it out loud. I know some people who do this and record it, however I don’t like the sound of my recorded voice! Reading the story out loud helps me pick up issues in the words including repeated words and things that sound awkward. Anything that needs changing, I make a note with a pencil on my print out so I can go back and change it in the manuscript
  • Editor – When I have edited it as much as I can, I send it to my editor to work her magic. A fresh set of eyes helps to pick up things I’ve missed. This could be plot holes I missed and inconsistencies such as name changes in the story, as well as showing me where more or less detail should be, among other things. Having an independent person go through it is brilliant as they pick up things I missed

I do these things more than once in the course of editing my books, and I also have beta readers who read the nearly ready-to-publish manuscript and make further suggestions to the story, but this is my basic process.

I find editing away from my computer, often in a different location to where I usually write, is the best way to get my work edited, along with setting myself a deadline to get the editing done!

What is your editing process?

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