The bane of most writers’ existence.
So, you just typed “THE END” and your story is ready to be published, right? WRONG. You have hours of editing ahead of you so sit tight, grab another coffee and dig in. Some writers take a few days before they attack editing with a fresh pair of eyes (I’m one of those authors). But everyone approaches the editing process differently. I take editing in 5 steps, which I'll break down for anyone who is seeking guidance in this area:
I read over my work (on the computer) to adjust any story changes I’ve made while I’ve been writing. Initially, I focus more on plot development, so my characters and setting details fall flat in the first draft. This first edit allows me to begin inserting those details.
As you’re writing a story, you sometimes make a big change that can impact the beginning. For example, you may realize that a character is no longer necessary and decide to write them out or kill them off from the start. Now you have to make sure that character is not “alive” in the beginning if that change was made halfway through writing your book. When you make a choice like that, it's easier to make a note of it and go back when it’s time for editing. Now would be an excellent time to make those adjustments.
Once you finish your first round of edits, print the entire thing. Yes, this is a lot of paper but it helps to see how the story looks in print (or in a book!). You can scratch out sentences and restructure directly on the pages so you can examine fresh edits against the original copy. This is beneficial for STEP THREE of the editing process.
Take the written changes from the printed copy and insert them into the electronic one. Now you can examine your suggested changes against the original copy. This may open your eyes to new issues or a way to better explain/write what you envision. You may notice mistakes in your edits or even changes that need to be made to better complement your story. This step is what really ties everything together to make your story seem complete.
But it’s not complete. Not yet.
Have a friend or family member - preferably someone who enjoys the genre - read your story. They will have a different point of view and may pick up on gaps in your plotline or characters, along with common grammar mistakes.
It’s always a great idea to have someone provide an outside point of view, especially if they are your target demographic. They can offer insights and help put your story into perspective to determine whether or not it will sell.
Final edits are made based on suggestions from your Beta Reader in STEP FOUR. You don’t have to make every change, but listen to their opinions and see if there are any lacking areas that you can better clarify. It is important when finalizing your story.
And now it’s time to submit your book!
To learn about how you can become a published author, keep an eye out for my next blog post! If you want to know how to write teen fiction click here!