Monday, December 3, 2012

I want to write a book Part 3 EDIT, JUST ONCE

So you found your muse and you have a story.
You took my advice and you puked out that story without stopping and editing your work as you go.
Now... You get to edit, but just once!

Once you have your book it is time to go through, page by page, and edit your story. Editing will come in many forms. You will be looking for punctuation and grammar as well as content.

When reading you want to make sure you have your action beats in front of dialogue. Not every line needs a he said or she said. (bleh!) You're looking for past and present tense, and making sure they are not intermixed. Most editors do not like head hopping. Make sure your POV is always solid.

Once you've finished your story, you know it better.  You know your characters better too.  You're going to find places you want to add details and scenes. This is okay here. This is a great time to do that, but remember you can get stuck in this process too.

Just like the puke it out stage, don't work too long on this edit process.  Keep making forward progress and go forward, not backward. Do a page at a time and move on to the next.

Normally I would say, you only get one edit chance. So let me preface that with, if you've added considerable amounts to your book do this process twice, but no more.

Once you've made it through the whole book DO NOT KEEP GOING BACK. Why edit six times? You've seen the words so many times you'll be amazed at what you're really missing.  Now comes the hardest part of writing a book, even harder than writing the book. You have to pass it off and let someone else read it.

As writers we all have friends who want to read what you wrote. So offer them a cup of Starbucks to read it and mark it up! Have your friends go though it and do an edit. Aside from a fresh pair of eyes you'll get your first feed back. Yes, they are going to tell you they loved it. But if they send it back with a million fixes you know that you have some work to do. However, you're closer to letting a professional look at it and offer you a contract or reject you. (By the way, rejections aren't all bad either! This is coming up in the series. Just know you will probably be rejected and this is a good thing!)

For a new author I think editing is crucial. Does an editor expect it to be perfect? No. Every book out there needs a little something more. However, we do expect that it not be crap. Now that might be harsh, but you wouldn't believe the manuscripts I get in my hands, and some of them from authors that have been published. Some of them from authors I've worked with (or my editors have worked with) who refuse to edit their work or take our comments to heart. Blatant misspelled words. Total lack of punctuation (and I'm no expert, but four line sentences might need a coma and you need periods and capitals!) If you are looking to getting into the publishing world consider having your manuscript at least proof read. It's the lesser of out of pocket expenses, but it makes a huge difference. If you can afford an editor, it's worth your money. But find a reputable one. This will take some research.  And of course, if you're going to self pub, please use an editor! You might be one amazing writer, but editing is still a professional addition and don't we all want to appear professional?

If money is an issue use multiple friends to edit. Each one will have a different talent.  This is very useful.

Once you make the corretions to our manuscript put it away. You are done! Congratualtions.  Now you have to choose your method on getting your book into the hands of the masses!

Do you go traditional? Or do you indie publish?  This topic coming in part 4!


  1. I could not see the little thing to show that I'm human. The little word thingy. It would not come up to where I could see it clearly.

  2. Okay, now that I've finally gotten that part out of the way... I wanted to thank you for your post. This is just what I needed to hear/read. I've been struggling to write a book for 4 year now. There are several books in my had and it sometimes feels like my head is going to explode. I hope this method will help to free me and my stories. Thanks again!! :-)