Editing 101

I think I’m pretty much there! I added 2 new sections yesterday, and while I think there might be a few little holes left, I’m going back to the beginning again to get deeper into the editing. I think all my events are in order, the characters have done what they need to do, and all is in place. (My Dragon software works awesomely, by the way. I used it to record what I’d scribbled down by hand, and it was so quick!)

I’m pretty much done at 138K. I might get to 140, but I doubt I’ll break that. So, now comes the part where I dig in and work on the text, but there is more to it than just making sure grammar and spelling are correct. I have to look at everything and make sure it’s juuuust right.

Very few of my posted stories have gotten a serious edit session. I’ve read them over and if I noticed something, I worked on it, but in my super editing mode (which I think has only happened for a couple of my stories such as Needle’s Eye – possibly Rickety House. maybe Mark of Thorn) I don’t just read it; I look at every sentence to make sure it’s perfect. Then I zoom out and look at the paragraph, and then the section, and then the chapter. It takes quite a bit of work, and since I have so many words with this one, it will probably take a bit of time.  Still, I’m pushing myself for a January/February release, so I’m going to do what I can with the time that I have.

Here are a few tips for you based on what I’m going to be doing:

Make sure all of your sentences don’t begin the same way. If you have every sentence in a paragraph beginning with ‘she’, then you should probably change some of that up. Likewise, if all of your paragraphs begin with ‘she’, you should probably tweak that too.

Look for words and phrases that you’ve repeated often. You may find that you have used the same words over and over again. Readers will notice this too, especially if it’s an unusual word. I’m not talking about common words like ‘the’. For instance, I’ve noticed that several of my characters have been ‘bewildered’. In this case, I’ll want to go in and see how many times I’ve used that word, and then change a few of them to something else – either another word or phrase that means the same thing, just to add some variety.

Look for words you may have used too closely together. This goes with the one above. Just try not to use the same words over and over again. If you notice a spot like that, replace the word with something else. If you can’t, reword the whole sentence. Sometimes all this is tedious, but it will be worth it in the end.

Look at each chapter individually. Is there enough material in your chapter? Does the chapter flow well on its own? If you’re like me and usually write to post a chapter at a time, you already know the importance of this. The reader should get something out of every chapter.

Do you know that I just spent nearly 2 hours (interrupted) adjusting the prologue?  The PROLOGUE!  It’s 600 words!!!  I’m doomed…  But I’m in Chapter One now, and looking at it, I’m pleased with myself, so Yay. :p

Time to get back to it! Maybe once I get the first few chapters finalized, I’ll give you a sample on Wattpad. :O  We’re getting close everyone!

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