So congratulations: you’ve written a book! Yay, give yourself a pat on the back and breathe.
Then it’s time to ask the next big question: What next?
The one thing no writer will ever tell is that the writing is the tiniest part of your journey, the editing is the huge task ahead. It requires painstakingly going over every single detail of your book to make sure its not going to be thrown in the bin on the first query read-through.
And that is a terrible task to start, to look up at the shadow of the mountain in front of you and want to run away from it.
But don’t worry dear writer I will be your guide and will lead you on this perilous journey.
Take a break
After finishing writing, it is best to rest your work for a few days. Because at that stage, your mind is buzzing with every little problem you view as important. It is good to go away for a couple of days and come back to it with fresh eyes.
Get stationary and prepare
This is my favourite place to start in: the stationary aisle.
I personally prefer to have a physical edit in my hand, so I need a grand pile of highlighters, pens and paper. As well as this I need a planner, perhaps because I like planners BUT ALSO because it is best to stay organised and on top of your word count to stay motivated.
However there are many who prefer to keep everything online, but still you will need to make sure you have everything necessary to keep yourself content and editing. A writer’s worst enemy is procrastination so make sure you have anything you might need:
- Lots to drink (that one is important)
You have sat down and are ready to start editing. It’s easy to get bogged down just reading through your manuscript adding in and deleting commas. It is best to start big before getting to the details.
Depending on your planning style you may or may not have a story plan. Even I deviate from it so when it comes to starting editing, I rewrite my outline to fit the final story, this is the easiest way I find to look at a condensed overview of the whole story.
This is the easiest way to look at the plot and see any glaring problems.
Listen to your work
I can’t write, literally I can’t. I struggle with dyslexia. And so, having my work read aloud really helps me notice the small errors, but it also helps you notice when sentences just don’t have that punch.
Keep the consistency
Now coming down a bit closer, most likely your final scenes are better written than the first scenes you wrote. It may not necessarily be in chronological order, but it is good to give all your scenes a once over to make sure the general structure is the same.
On a more technical note, its easy to forget the small details of description when you are writing. Make sure that your main character’s eyes don’t go from blue to brown within five chapters and the sunny skies mentioned two paragraphs ago don’t suddenly become storming rains.
Now we get into the nitty-gritty. Once you have sorted out your plot and consistency, you can finally give it a proper read and examine your work. This is the time to start dashing out those clunky sentences and spruce up your descriptions.
Trust me, editing will take forever. You will constantly relearn how to write better which will make every time you reread your book make it seem like shit. But don’t give up hope and keep going. Good Luck Xx.
Self-Editing Basics: 10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book