Editing Tips, Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Avoiding Editing

No, I am not editing again. Well yes I am, but it’s one of those things where anything can be a distraction. I have never regretted editing. The finished product is always worth the toil. The cringing, the ‘did I really forget to a word how many times?’ I have a habit of leaving out ‘the’ in the middle of a sentence. It’s like a treasure hunt for to find all the lost words. The other habit is joining two thoughts together mid-sentence. If it takes more than 5 minutes to figure it out the sentence gets deleted. What was I thinking? Umm…

Unravelled Plans

The best part is finding out that the story makes sense. You have no idea how of a relief that is. On top of that I went head long into a large scene with many characters. Did that go according to plan? No… Did it cause panic and chaos? Absolutely! Somehow through all this the underlying story made sense. *Breathes a sigh of relief at the small miracle*

Rebellious Characters

It can be rather complicated trying to keep track of that much action. It was fun, surprising and annoying all at the same time. The dragon just wanted to melt snow. The wrong person died. The person who was supposed to be trouble ended up being nice. Don’t ask me how that happened. I have no idea. The best part of editing os reading the story and finding hidden gems that were all but forgotten.

Editing Tips

To Format or Not to Format?

formatting

It has been a busy few months making last minute changes to a long overdue goal. After three years of sitting on a third manuscript, finally all the slow tiny steps have begun to add up. Getting this ready has been a saga in of itself, but for the moment I will concentrate on formatting. This area required research and there are more options out there. So when you reach this stage, take a peek at the advice and programmes before making a final decision.

Assess Your Abilities

This is about time, ability to learn and what you wish to take on. My background consists of using both drawing and word programmes. I have a genuine interest in learning new programmes. After doing a bit of research and assessing my long term goals. I made the big leap and purchased a copy of Adobe InDesign. I realise this is not for everyone, but since formatting is a goal it was an investment. Most people I know have opted to pay for someone else to do the formatting for hardcopy. There are currently a range of programmes that make it easy to create an eBook (epub or mobi file). I find more people I know are comfortable with using a programme to convert a manuscript to an eBook. Since there are quite a few programmes and services there is no ‘one size fits all’. So take the time to look around before making the final decision.

Getting Down to Work

Way back when I began writing a novel the first thing I did was go to my bookshelf and study how books are formatted. The number of lines to a page, words to a line and different page headers. Formatting the hardcopy (paperback) is about making a book look like a book. Don’t laugh, there is actually quite a bit to it from the genre to the standard requirements. For example, the back cover will have the genre in small print near the bottom to make it easier to identify. In addition a page header is there for the reader to know the chapter. Formatting is not for everyone, but it is worth doing a little research so you know what to look for.

Editing Tips

Things I Found Useful When Editing

DSCF0115 SmallSeriously I really found these useful when editing. There is no escaping the boring nature of the task however it helps to break editing down into smaller sections. At all times remember this process is just as important as the first draft, and it may take longer than you think.

Change the Font

My mind is so used to reading in ‘Times New Roman’ that when I changed the font it felt like I was editing someone else’s work. Well not quite, but it certainly made a difference. I went further and changed the text colour just to reduce the familiarity with the writing. This is the time to look for large chunks or paragraphs that really do not work because they will stand out.

Removing Unnecessary Words

Do not fall in love with your writing to the point where you cannot let go of that favourite sentence you always dreamed of. If it does not work with the scene or move the story forward, I’m sorry but it has to go (I nearly cried over this one). I saved each stage of editing so I could always go back if need be. Only once did I need to rely on an earlier version, after that I did not look back. Remember you need the scene to work and run smoothly, that is your goal.

Take Notes

While you are getting the hang of ditching the awkward writing in your scene and wondering why on earth you wrote that in the first place, it is a good idea to take notes. Every section that makes you think ‘I need to go back and fix that’ or ‘I love that but it was too short’, make sure to compile a list to return to. Now is not the time to be nervous because after having finished the first draft your aims and direction for the novel will have a renewed clarity. Use this to your advantage to give the story strength.

Re-build the Story

When going through the manuscript it is important to identify what worked, and the scenes that can enhance the story. When rushing through the first draft it is all about getting the ideas down which can lead to a scene that needed to be explored over several pages starting out as one paragraph. Sometimes these scenes will not stand out until the stale sections have been removed.

Skim Read

If your pace slows when you are skim reading, there may be something holding up the flow in the story. Now is a great time to tidy up those loose ends. They are there, and you will be surprised how many there are. If you need to change details and make sure there are no inconsistencies like a character’s scar or hair colour this the time to sort it out.

Read Aloud

There are some things that just need to be done, reading your story aloud can help with punctuation and formatting. It is a great way to find those hidden anomalies in your writing that can easily be missed.

Ask Someone to Edit the Story

This is where a fresh set of eyes can really add so much. There are many different ideas about when is the best time to ask another person to provide feedback or editing services. The best advice I can give is to ask someone else to edit your story. You do not have to accept the changes, but the feedback does help immensely.