Oh what joy, editing! Can you feel the sarcasm weaving through every word? Editing as far as I can see diverts my attention from what I love, writing. But I have to admit that it is a necessary evil for all authors. If you wish to publish you have to get your work edited.
Its okay for you, I here you shout, you already have an editor; I on the other hand can't afford to shell out all that cash. You are right to an extent, I did have the great fortune to find a great editor but there are lots of things to do before you get to that stage.
· Don’t edit while you’re writing. Of course changing the odd typo is fine but to start
reconstructing whole sentences or paragraphs will only distract you.
· Once you finish your book put it to one side for a few days. Give yourself some room and maybe a drink, one drink, I’m watching and I can see that housework piling up over your shoulder.
· Change its format, for example put it on an e-reader. A different look can make mistakes stand out.
· One I always use much to the annoyance of my family, is to read it out loud. If it doesn’t seem to make sense when you read it aloud, then it’s likely that it needs amending.
· Think about the bigger picture first – work on chapters and whole sections before looking at the typos and grammar. There will be sections that don’t have the necessary information, it might still be in your head but doesn’t help the reader.
· This one is something that was passed down to me and I’m not sure if it always works but the mysterious ‘they’ say you should be looking at cutting 10% off your word count as most writers overwrite on their first draft.
· Look out for repeating the same point several times. Using 300 words when 20 will do. Passive phrases and unnecessary adjectives.
· Please use spell check but you have to realise that it will only spot typos and nothing more. It WILL NOT identify words that are in the wrong context or words that are used too often.
· It is so hard to proof read your own work. Find that kind soul who will be honest but constructive. They will tell you when you need to redo a chapter; I have one and believe me she lets me know when something isn’t working.
· And the last thing to mention is know when to stop. If you continue to edit your work, over and over it will suffer.
If you are serious about letting others see your work, letting it out in the big bad world, then check the editors out there, ask other authors and get the best deal you can with a reputable editor.