Years ago a writing friend emailed me to inquire about my editing service. He wanted his book copyedited so that he could go the self-publishing route. So I replied with my rates and a date I could pencil him into my schedule. His response? Turns out it wasn’t in his budget, which I could understand. He wrote back a day later and asked for a few of my self-editing tips. I gladly obliged.
While I highly recommend every writer have the benefit of a critique group, a writer friend to trade edits with, or an affordable editing service (I know of a good one), there are times when we really must edit ourselves. Here are three simple tips to keep in mind before tackling that story:
Put thy manuscript aside to cool. Give yourself some time before you go over your manuscript so you can read it with fresh eyes. For some writers that might be a week. Others might need a month. Whatever works for you.
Know thy writing weaknesses. Do you misspell certain words? Repeat others to death? Do you have trouble with commas? Keep a running list of your pet problems next to your computer and scour your manuscript for these.
Read thy work out loud. By just using this one simple technique, you can find problems with repetitive phrases, lackluster sentence structure, paragraphs that don’t flow, awkward dialogue, and other pesky errors. If I could only recommend one tip for self-editing, this would be my number one.
Try these tips. You’ll be surprised how much your manuscript will improve!
What are your favorite tips for self-editing? Leave me a comment.