Monday, July 23, 2012

Tips on Editing

Handwritten scene for New Life
For those of you who have been keeping up with the blog, it's no secret that I've been editing all month long.  It's a long process, and of course none of us actually enjoy it.  (Though I'll be the one in the few who will admit I actually do enjoy it most of the time, even though sometimes my complaints may suggest otherwise)
I'd like to share some tips for those of you who are also working on self-edits.  Even if your book isn't going to a publisher, some tips can never hurt!  So here's my two cents...
For one, make sure that when characters travel (even if it's from one bedroom to the next) that it's actually clear that the character moved.  I've noticed one too many times in my own work that characters will go into another room and just "magically" (no pun intended) appear there.  This doesn't make sense to the reader, and it won't make sense to you either once you find these problems.  Fortunately, they can be fixed easily.
Then there's the words themselves.  One of the remarks my editor made that I've constantly been reminding myself of throughout this process is that many times we -the writer- use one too many words.  While we're in "the moment" we don't realize it, but we may be dragging something out.  Often times it only takes a sentence or two to get across the point to the reader, so remember don't overdo it.
Lastly, since I do have to return to editing, don't be afraid to delete words.  Once an author said "If it doesn't feel right, then it's not meant to be in the story." If you're asking yourself how you'll know if it feels "wrong," then you probably just answered your own question.  Go with your instinct --sometimes we want to hold onto words or unimportant scenes simply because of the time we dedicated to them, but if they aren't moving your story along, place them away somewhere safe and return to them for a different book.

Hope this was helpful!  I have a lot of work ahead of me if I'm going to meet this due date.  Enjoy your week!
Coming up next: Another character journey -Who do you want to hear from?
Lindsey R. Sablowski


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