How to Correct Your Book Properly

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.

And also:

Avoid distractions

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.

If you liked this post please share and subscribe for more tips! Also, let me know in the comments below which tip do you find more useful and if you have any suggestions.

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3 Tips for Better Editing

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:

  1. 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.

  1. Read aloud

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.

  1. 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.