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On Editing

imageNow I’m officially in the editing phase of my latest WIP I thought I’d share how I do it.

Firstly no excuses, I’m rubbish at spelling, probably the worst in the world so for me to even spot a typo is a miracle – But spelling is the least of my worries! My main problem is with the actual term To Edit. It brings connotations of revising, compacting, even reducing something – for me I usually end up with an extra ten thousand words after the final edit – go figure! So not only am I left with something often very different to the first draft I end up with something considerably longer – This was a huge shock for the first book, but now on the fourth I’ve actually added into my expected final word count equation – clever, hey?

So I’ve got a first draft (minus 10,000 words).

First edit:

This is on the laptop and is fun. Basically I’m let loose on the full story for the first time. I’m reading my book and adding, subtracting, moving paragraphs, even chapters and I have to tell you – I’m brutal! Words are cut ruthlessly never to be seen again. If they don’t fit, if they don’t feel right they’re gone. Sadly the downside – other words have to take their place, so this can take weeks.

Second edit:

i leave my Manu in a drawer (well, no on the laptop) for a couple of weeks and do something else – I’m too near the book, I need to distance myself so the next time read it feels fresh. This second edit takes place on my Kindle Fire. Why? Because I want to see how it reads as a real book. I want to hold it in my hand and concentrate on the flow. Here I’ll also pick up skipped words and punctuation problems. The second edit can be repeated many times, always on the Kindle Fire, or a Kindle app will do. I utilise the highlight function and use different colours for different sections that need work. E.g., yellow, spelling. Blue, punctuation etc.

Third edit:

I’m back on the laptop looking at formatting. What am I targeting? What, you really expect me to share my secrets. Well as I’m in a good mood (cat on right, coffee on left…)

  1. Removing trailing paragraphs
  2. Removing spaces between paragraphs
  3. First line indents
  4. Spell check, but you can’t rely on it. Check, and check again
  5. Standard font

These are what I target first, but read the manual, guide of whichever company you’re publishing with.

Final read

All the problems should have been sorted, so I’m back on my Kindle. This last read I’m checking names, locations, ages. Did you rename a character half way through? Use the find, replace function on Microsoft Word to help with these final trapdoors that as sure as eggs break some reader will find.

See you in six months….