Edit In Love: Tips on Editing
I publish my written work, including blog entries, after having written, read, re-written, re-read, several times. You cannot edit your own written work with love; rather, you must edit your own written work in love. Your passion flows within your writing and you conclude it, thinking to yourself, Yes! I have achieved something! You have! You have achieved a first draft which you, no doubt, have created with love; it needs to be edited because of that love. You, as a writer, deserve to reach your full potential and the only way to do that is to edit, edit, edit and then some. Also, it is okay to accept professional editing assistance either via a special computer program and/or via a person who is an editor, by profession.
1.Consistency: Sometimes, writers even slip when it comes to keeping a character consistent in his/her personality or in following up on past, crucial events that have happened in the storyline that leads to character development. For example, if Jamie is an alcoholic, then the dialogue and actions of Jamie should be relevant to that specific character trait. If a specific event changes Jamie from alcoholic to non-alcoholic for ex. he falls in love with a woman who inspires him, then the moment he has fallen in love with her, should be described more than once. Repetition or reminiscence of a crucial event only strengthens the writer´s ability to validate character devlelopment.
Also, if you choose to write in British English (ex. apoligised) instead of American English (apologized), remain consistent with this throughout the story.
2.Grammar, Spelling & Punctuation: Before you send your work along with your query to a literary agent or independent publisher, edit grammar, spelling and punctuation. Your work should look professional.
3.Organization & Structure: It always helps to put your vision into outline format. This way, you can organize your imaginative thoughts so that events occur in the order that you intend them to and so that your characters develop accordingly.
4.Organize Your Editing Process: You will have to read your written work several times before you, yourself, feel that it is ready. Firstly, read your work as if someone else has written it or from the perspective of a first-time reader of a random story. Secondly, read your work to check grammar, spelling and punctuation. Thirdly, read your work to check consistency. Fourthly, read your work to check organization & structure. Fifthly, read your work again from the perspective of a reader. Sixthly, read your work again to check grammar, spelling and punctuation. Basically, repeat all of the above steps, several times and separately, to help you stay focused or organize your editing.
Some inspiring quotes to get you in the editing mood:
“I'm writing a first draft and reminding myself that I'm simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.” - Shanon Hale
“When you write a book, you spend day after day scanning and identifying the trees. When you’re done, you have to step back and look at the forest.” - Stephen King