Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Isn't It All The Same? A Post On Editing Your Work

Hello All!

How is your year going so far? Been keeping up with your goals? If you participated in NaNoWriMo 2015, you may have a completed first draft already. But (and this is a very big but), you should not begin querying agents or try to self-publish the work right away. 


Because you need to revise and edit your budding manuscript, that's why! ^o^

There are several different types of editing and revising, and I'm finding that each round of edits and revisions produces different outcomes. Let's go over the types of editing:


In regards to your NaNo book, this may be a good place to start. This type of editing looks at the structure of your novel, focusing on the plot, character development, and any subplots you may have. This is the "big picture" edit, so it's important to look at things like the flow of the plot (steering away from the "saggy middle" that plagues the best of us), if there needs to be chapters taken out/reordered/combined etc., and if there are any plot threads that need tying up before the end of the book. Also, look at your characters --- are they vital to the story, can two characters be combined without losing the integrity of your work? Also pay attention to the POV (Point Of View) in the work, is it consistent, and is it the best way to tell your story? 

There's a lot going on with Structural Edits, so my advice would be to make several "passes" on your work, each time focusing on a different thing. Some like to differentiate Substantive Editing into its own category like seen here. In any case, your first rounds of revisions/edits should focus on the big things in your manuscript. 

Line Editing/Stylistic Editing

This type of editing focuses on the "readability" of your work. In other words, do you have clich├ęs, are you clear, and is your dialogue natural-sounding? These are just some of things you can focus on when doing this sort of editing. Be sure to pay attention to words and phrases that you use over and over again. My big one: talking about people smiling. Everyone smiles, even though they have nothing to smile about, it seems! xD


I've seen these also fall under Proofreading, but others prefer to use copyediting when talking about things like grammar, spelling, and consistency in your work. If your character has a shiny, purple shield in page 1, but then it's suddenly a dull wooden one on page 30, this is the edit where you would need to fix that.


I use this to refer to the last thing you should be doing once your manuscript has gone through rounds of Critique Partners (CP), Edits/Revisions, and Beta-Readers (BR). This deals with the look of the manuscript, the final polish before you send it out into the world of publishing. If you plan on self-publishing, this will mean you need to pay attention to the format of your manuscript, the font, the spacing, the margins etc. If you are querying agents, this is the time to make sure your read over the submission package you are sending them. Not everyone thinks of proofreading in this step, but I think it's an important part of the process.

Well, that's all for today! Be sure to follow me on Twitter for more of my musings as I try to navigate the world of writing and publishing.

What else would you like to see discussed on this blog? Send me your thoughts and ideas!


P.S. Here are some resources to help you:

No comments:

Post a Comment