Editing your own novel should not be the last time your story gets edited. Editing your own novel should be one of the first, several times you go through the editing process.
What you might think to do is…
EDIT YOUR OWN NOVEL THEN FIND A GOOD INDIE EDITOR TO FIX ALL OF YOUR MISTAKES
Because you will have plenty of errors if you rely on your own judgment to do the final editing yourself. It’s sad but true. Get used to it. We all come to this realization at some time in our careers. That’s all the tough love I’ll proffer today.
MY PROCESS FOR EDITING THE NOVEL
- Edit while building the story. I usually write anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words a day. I call this new writing. After, I make cursory corrections, I then close my laptop. The next day, with a fresh set of eyes (or as pirates are given when they write: one fresh eye), I pick up and edit from the point I began my new writing the day before and comb through all the mistakes. After I’m done with that, I end up at the place I left off and begin new writing again. I do this until I have finished writing the first draft of my novel.
- Edit the whole story in bites. Because a novel runs anywhere from 45,000 to 110,000+ words, I usually go through my entire manuscript (MS) in small chunks, editing only one- to three-thousand words in a day.
- Your story will expand and contract… at the same time. I tend to write short. Meaning, I write a skeletal story and expand through my first go at editing my first drafts–adding scene setting, characterization, and filling in holes–sometimes adding entire new chapters. This is good and bad. Good because I get to include crucial information left out on my first go. Bad, because now I have to go back and edit the new stuff as if it were new writing. Because… it is!
- Wash, rinse, repeat. Once I’ve made my way editing to the last page of my MS, I then go back and do it all over again.
- Other eyes help. Once I’ve edited my MS a second time, I reach out to beta-readers for help. Beta-readers offer an invaluable service you will not want to skip. Not only do they point out possible problems with content, story line, and flow, they also catch stupid typos and grammatical errors that you missed in all your previous edits. Plus, they will give you great blurby comments you can use for marketing. After you correct any glaring errors your beta-readers have pointed out, you go to the next step.
- Invest $$ in your MS. Independent editors come in different flavors: the proofreader, the line editor, and the content editor. A proofreader usually charges less than a content editor. I have used each type and with differing results but I have ALWAYS benefited by using an indie editor. Here’s the WritersMarket.com link to their PDF called, “How Much Should I Charge.” It will show you what to expect to be charge by an indie editor.
You either agree or disagree with changes your indie editor will suggest and that’s your prerogative. For my editor’s grammar suggestions, I usually apply changes without question because I’m pathetic when it comes to grammar. However, for content suggestions–issues with story as a whole, characterization, and dialogue–I’m a tad more skeptical about their advice and view their suggestions with a more contemplative eye. Still, I usually apply 95% of their content suggestions.
A LIST OF EDITORS I EITHER KNOW OR AM FAMILIAR WITH
- Kim Huther, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kim.vanderwarkerhuther
- Jim Thomsen, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jimthomsen
- Terry Persun, www.terrypersun.com
- Emily Reed, www.eagleeyeediting.com
- Andrea Hurst, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/andrea.hurst.7
- Jodie Renner, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jodie.renner.editorauthor
- Renni Browne, editorialdepartment.com
I have used a few of these editors singly and in conjunction with others. I get the best results when I double-up on editors but you have to weigh the costs associated with this practice. (View a listing of more editors HERE)
After editing comes a whole bunch more work. If you are an un-agented author, you will want to query literary agents who represent the genre for your story. If you are agented, you will want to compile a couple of lists, one for comparative published novels and one for innovative marketing ideas specific to your story–the place, type of characters, point in time, conflict. Your agent will love you all the more.
Which brings me to writing the query, which I’ll save for my next post.
Until then… peace and out.
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