As you know, I’ve always said that correcting your novel is not an easy job — it’s exhausting, boring, and it feels like wasting time, although it’s not.
Even though, let’s not forget this:
Everyone who edits their copy has a fool for an editor.
— Donald Davis
This comes to say: if it’s going hard, if you feel like you’re not doing a good job, you’re doing the best you can, and many (most) professional writer do have an editor. You might need to edit it more than once or twice and even ask other people about what’s their opinion (do they feel like there are plot gaps, irrelevant details, too many details) and then decide if you want or not to do something about it. It’s your book after all.
And never forget:
Different people have different tastes
It’s important that your book won’t appeal to everyone, but first of all, you have to like it. That’s what makes you authentic and invested in your work. You should like it. If, like the rest of us humans, you fear failure, I strongly suggest you read THIS post.
This is not the first time I touch upon the subject of editing, I shared a few different tips on how to edit your work before (HERE). However, I felt like I needed to deepen the subject; that’s why today I am going to speak only about the manner in which you can correct (from a grammatical point of view) your novel.
1. Use a specialised programme
Nowadays, technology eases our tasks and brings lots of benefits to our lives. Many programmes that aim to help the writers and bloggers around the world had been developed. Happily, there are also free versions of these. Although regarded with scepticism, they are very good. I’ve personally used Grammarly — the free version at first — which is easy to use and competent all the same. It might not find all the grammatical errors, but you’ll be surprised by it nevertheless. You can also choose whether you want to have the text corrected in the U.K. or U.S.A English. In addition to this, the program offers explanations for each correction. And you can also download the Microsoft Plug-in and this option is also available for Mac.
If you go for the paid version, there are even more features. Luckily, if you invite friends and they make an account, you both receive a free week of Premium Grammarly. Yay!
2. Get a beta reader
Beta readers don’t only tell you how can you improve your book overall. If you ask them, these persons can especially look after grammatical errors. This method is very nice because it helps you make friends and get to know people in this field. If you search thoroughly, you’ll find people willing to give a helping hand without expecting material benefits. These types of person can be usually found on different Facebook special dedicated pages or websites.
Warning: Be aware to whom you entrust your book. There are scammers and the so-called “bad people” who would/could steal your work. I would suggest doing a little research beforehand; that does not mean you should be paranoiac, just pay attention.
Besides, a beta reader can also give you his opinion regarding the book. If he or she can be integrated into the segment of the market you’re addressing to, his thoughts are very important when it comes to improving the quality of your work.
3. Contract an editor
If you want to take the self-publishing road and you have an amount of money at your disposition, you should consider contracting an editor. He’s a professional and a capable person with a vast experience in the domain. You can “steal” a few tricks and improve your writing in the future as well (just analyse the changes he makes/suggests). On top of that, the editor can be your connection to get to know other people in the field.
4. Don’t rush!
This one, I don’t think it comes as a surprise. However, I feel like I can’t stress it enough. Mostly, because I fell victim to this trap in the past, when I was a newbie (if you’re a newbie as well, I suggest you read THIS post). If you want to properly correct your book, you should be patient and not rush the process or the people you’re working with. Also, be open-minded and decide with your head whether you should or make a change, not with your heart — sometimes, pressing delete is very hard, but it’s also needed. Don’t be afraid to be merciless with your book. This is a good time to let listen to your inner critic a bit.
When you start editing, turn off your phone, don’t be the “I’m just going to check my mail once” or “just a quick look on Facebook/Twitter.” Although I’ve acknowledged the importance of music in the creative process (HERE), I advise you to keep it to a minimum.
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