Today, I want to touch upon the editing subject. Editing is a very important part of the writing process. It contributes to polishing the work. This part, however, might be exhausting as it implies much patience and finesse. And when our perfectionist spirit kicks in, we better grip on something.
But editing doesn’t necessarily have to resemble a walk along the path of hell. I’ve discovered over the years how certain preparation could make the experience almost enjoyable. The short list that I’m about to present you does not only help with improving the experience but also with making the editing better.
So, without further ado, these are my 3 tips for better editing:
Take a break
Haha. That’s, I think, the best thing one could hear when it comes to hard work, right? Can you believe that I’m not even joking? Let’s assume you’ve just finished your novella or novel. You’d want to get it done for good and start editing, probably. But the right thing to do is to let it cool for a while. You’re too caught in the story. Instead of frying your brain further, take a break of a month or two. It will give you a more objective view on your work and more patience. During the pause phase, do not touch the material, or think about it. Relax, do activities you enjoy and enjoy life.
Editing is a tricky activity, especially when it comes to dialogue. In your head, the exchange of replies might sound perfect, but then, when you read aloud, it seems dull. When you engage more than one sense, your skills strengthen. It somehow makes the experience more real and gives you a quite objective work. It’s like you hear those persons speaking, and not read a dialogue. Also, reading aloud makes you realise whether or not the description is boring.
Divide the editing into two phases
I observed that this works like a piece of cake. It’s a secret that no one wants to tell. Usually, when one edits his work he tries to take care of both style and errors at the same time. He might re-read his work to see if he’s satisfied with the results, and he’d still focus on both of them.
Editing should be divided into two phases: the style editing and the grammatical errors correcting one.
The author should start by looking at the composition as a whole, at the characters in order to make them believable and other things regarding plot and development. Unlike editors, writers don’t have the superpower of reading on letters – I know an editor with a vast editing experience and she lent me a trick or two -; that’s why the second round of editing should focus only on grammatical errors.