Today, we will focus on editing. You should be editing your printed manuscript each day even though I don’t always say it on my “things I did”. Many of these tasks I had already completed prior to starting this journey which is why it has not been a focus up to this point.
Things to do
Make Printed Copy for Editing
- There is something about a physical document that allows for typos to be seen easier.
- In my experience the front half of the manuscript is edited more times than the back half. For that reason, when I edited my printed copy I started with the last chapter and worked chapter by chapter to the front.
- If you have something small such as punctuation or one word change, I recommend circling the edit to make sure you find it later when entering these changes/edits into the master manuscript.
Ask for Pre-readers
- I find Google docs to be the easiest format for sharing with readers. There is easy comment section for them to give feedback.
- I used my FB page to ask friends and family if they would like to be a pre-reader and found four willing people.
- Be specific on desires.
- Feedback of story flow.
- Actual word edits.
Research Professional Editors
- I found my editor through my church’s FB page and asked if any of the members were professional editors. She gave me a substantial discount which helped my budget.
- Other options are to go to writers FB pages such as 20booksTo50k and multiple others. With author pages you can communicate with people who have used the services they recommend.
- There is a wide range of prices and editing services, you’ll need to research the differences to know the style of editing is best for you. This can be extremely expensive so research is key.
Keep Editing Yourself
Enter All Edits and Changes
- Take your time and make sure you find all the edits to change.
- The last thing you want is to create a mistake while fixing others. For example, I find that when editing the end of a sentence out of habit I often add punctuation that is already there leading to double periods, etc.
Filler and Filter Words to Avoid
- I personally do not do the “replace all” button because I’ve had some very strange things happen such as them replacing words that are in the middle of a different word, etc. So, yes, I click, next on each word to decide if it should be deleted. It is time consuming but will hopefully prevent further editing mistakes.
- Words to Search and Delete. These are all words that slow down the flow and do not add to the story. Most of the time a stronger word would be better for example very angry could become furious. Furious is
more clearclearer and has a stronger punch.
- THAT, REALLY, VERY, stood UP (delete up), sit DOWN, JUST, ALMOST, RATHER, SOMEWHAT, IN ORDER to, ALWAYS, STARTED, BEGAN, nodded MY HEAD, blinked MY EYES, ALL at once, we BOTH, QUITE, TRULY, ACTUALLY, SO ANYWAY, LITERALLY, TRYING TO, MORE, FAR more, EVEN, PROBABLY, ANY, STILL, POSSIBLY, EXTREMELY
- Words to restructure to remove. These take more effort to remove because it is not simply deleting a word but require structuring the sentence. Example: She was wearing a red shirt. She wore a red shirt. Often breaking the sentence in half and then flipping it, you’ll find it is more active.
- COULD/SHOULD/WOULD, HAVE/HAD, WENT, GOT, WERE, WAS, TO BE, AT THE SAME TIME —> IN UNISON/TOGETHER
- Filter words to use cautiously. Many of these words distance the reader from the action. For example: “I saw the tree sway in the breeze.” A better statement would be to delete the I saw, “The tree swayed in the breeze.” This pulls the reader in where they see the tree rather than being told the narrator sees it.
- SEE/SAW, LOOKED, HEARD, KNEW, REALIZED, WONDERED, DECIDED, NOTICED, FELT, REMEMBERED, THOUGHT, APPEARED.
Sent Document to Editor
- As stated above, professional editing is very expensive therefore you want it to be as perfect as you can make it.
- I editing my printed copy WHILE my editor had the same document which lead me to sometimes wondering if the changes I made were 100% correct. Doing my own edits first would have relieved those doubts.
Approve and/or Enter all Edits/Changes from Editor
Ask for Final Pre-reader
- I found this individual through writer FB page by simply making a post asking for a final reader. I explained that the document has been professional edited and I simply wanted one more pair of eyes to look at it to look for any mistakes that have been missed.
- Please do not use this as an excuse to not do the steps above, however I have read in multiple places that no matter what you do once you hit the publish button you will find at least one more mistake. GRRRRR!!! I am trying very hard for this to not be true and I think you should try too!
- I had a nasty curve ball thrown at me. As I’ve stated above I had already editing my story with a printed copy AND had it edited with a professional editor. I sent it to the final pre-reader and there was a lot of stupid mistakes (words words repeated — see what I did there?), other silly but obvious mistakes and grammatical comma usage. This was very discouraging because I am approaching my final deadline to be publishing and did NOT want to have to change my launch date (It’s a personal date for me).
- What I did!
- I did a quick research on editing software and tools.
- There are lots to choose from, but I narrowed it down to Grammarly, Hemmingway App, and ProwritingAid. My understanding is that Grammarly and ProwritingAid are very similar but Grammarly is more expensive. The Hemmingway App is $20, I wasn’t sure if it was a one time charge or monthly. If it is a one time charge then it is money well spent, if monthly way, way over priced. I’m giving it a try along with ProwritingAid. It was $40 for the year, right before checkout I saw a place for a “voucher code” so I did a quick google search for a voucher code for ProwritingAid and I was able to find a discount which made it $30 for the year.
- I really like ProwritingAid, its easy to use and the suggestions are useful rather than vague suggestions I received from the Hemminway App.
- What the Hemmingway App does well is understand that you will never get rid of ALL passive voice so it gives you a goal to reach, the same is true with adverbs you will never delete them all but gives an appropriate amount. The grade level is also nice. My understanding is the average adult reader is on a fourth grade level. I know that’s sad, but true.
- Then just to add more chaos in my life, my internet went out for two days, so I had to go to local coffee shops to finish this editing. But that is now complete and I can continue with my schedule. YAY!!