Sunday, 3 April 2011

Editing that novel


I’m now at that scary stage of writing where the story is all done and the plots have come to a conclusion. Now it’s for the scary part – the final edit. 

I say scary because after this it will be time to actually submit the thing. That means contacting agents and publishers.

Here are some of the things I have learnt about editing –
  • DON’T over edit. It can be easy to fall into that trap and lose the power of what you have written.
  • ALWAYS keep your work before the edit. That way if you want to change it back to how it was, you have your original and don’t end up having to resurrect it from memory.
  • LIMIT the use of words like well like, only, just, had, seem, seemed, seems (better to say something is) and adjectives with ly at the end (trust me, they get monotonous).
  • If you keep on having to say who is speaking when it’s a regular character, then you need to work on your characterisation. People should know who is speaking by how they say what they say.
  • Take time out from editing to read. Good writers need to read.
  • ALWAYS print out for the final edit and edit by hand the old fashioned way, with a pan. You will be amazed at what you miss when you do it on a computer screen. Very amazed.
  • READ OUT what you have written to yourself to make sure it reads right. You can spot things that way. I try a bit of method acting as well reading it as though as though I am that character and try and act as they do (in my head). Weird and I may be nuts, but it works for me.

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