I write sweet to sensual traditional romance and speculative fiction which includes a twist of the paranormal, adventure, suspense, or mystery. My traditional romances always have a happy ending, but the speculative fiction does not due to the "thriller" nature of the genre. Laura Shinn of "Laura Shinn Designs" creates my beautiful and eye-catching book covers, my logos and banners, and is my consultant on formatting and everything art related.
I've had editing on my mind this week. First I had an emergency edit to do from an outside source. A great story, not a romance, though, and told in first person. This is one of the most difficult types for me to edit as it is not my chosen field, but it seemed to flow when finished, was as grammatically correct as conversational first person will be with me editing, and the author and publisher seem happy with it. Hurray for another completed project.
Then I began reading stories for the Victory Tales Press anthologies to be released for Halloween and editing those (thankfully not much as these writers do a pretty good job before they get to me). And finally I am editing some of my own writing trying to stimulate my, lazy of late, MUSE. I ran across this simple, but effective article on editing and with permission wanted to share it with all of you.
Here are the main points and then hop on over to the article if you'd like to see the rest, please.
A Little Honesty Goes A Long Way
So, the first thing you need to learn to be good at editing is to be objective!
I always put my novels aside for a few weeks before going back to rewrites. Otherwise, my head is still in the clouds of that world, and I can't shake myself loose enough to be critical of my own words. (Doesn't do to be in love with your own words. No one else will be, if you didn't get them right!)
If you find you can't be objective about your own novel, find someone you trust who can. (Not your mom! Unless she's an author...)
If At First You Don't Succeed, Rewrite, Rewrite, Rewrite
Start with the plot line. Does it flow seamlessly from beginning to end, sub-plots and all? Are there any missing segments? Fill those in now. Something happened that makes no sense? Cut it.
Yup. If you're going to edit a novel , you have to learn to discard your precious babies. I mean the paragraphs you may have liked the most when you wrote them.
You also need to look at your characters, your setting (time and place both), your "facts", even if you wrote a fantasy, names of places and people. (I told you it was a lot of work!)
You may find you need to rid your novel of extraneous characters (ouch! I often do). Don't throw them out entirely. Keep a file of discards to consider using in other novels.
The Final Frontier
This may sound silly, but one of the best editing devices I know of for any type of writing is to read it aloud.
Yes, you read that right. Read your novel aloud. Not all in one sitting, but a page at a time, or a chapter at a time.
Reading your work out loud will help you find places where the words don't flow, or you've put something awkwardly. Yes, I know this is a long piece of fiction you've written, but seriously, it will make a difference.
If you don't think you'll hear it well reading it yourself, have someone read it to you. Stop them when you hear something that sounds wrong, and make a note. Then go on.
You won't regret this last step in editing, even if you think you've gone over everything with a fine-tooth comb.