By guest editor and contributor Macy Cochran
Patience is key to publication, and after writing a novel, the dreaded editing process is next, calling for the utmost patience. Writing a novel might sound like the difficult and tedious part of publishing, but isn’t editing your work the most time-consuming part?
The editing and revision process is hard on the author and even more trying when beginning the process right after completing your last chapter. All writers need a break from their manuscript, so before taking a nose dive right back into your novel, give yourself a break and allow for time to refresh your creative mind prior to looking upon your manuscript with a pair of fresh eyes.
Some of the best practices for editing your work prior to publication or professional editing can be quick and easy if you take one step at a time.
First, read through your manuscript checking for instances where you might “tell” the action instead of “showing” it. Doing a word search for adverbs that end with “ly” is a perfect place to start. The best way to avoid pesky adverbs is to consider the sentence and create a description the adverb was trying to imply.
All writers face overused words that always make their way into your work. While editing your own piece, start cutting some of those overused words. Though it might seem time consuming, a quick read-through of your book is what will call attention to any sort of redundancy that’s woven within.
Like most authors, we’d like to think our work is a masterpiece that needs no professional editing. The problem is that all authors need editors, and even better––all editors need editors. While you might not catch some awkward phrasing or wordy sentences, an editor is sure to polish those blemishes.
Editors can seem intimidating in the beginning because they’re literally hired to find your mistakes. But what might not meet the eye upon first introduction is that working with an editor builds a level of trust. An editor cares for your book as much as you do, and that’s why they chose to work with you.
Working with an editor is often a learning experience.
During the time you’re with an editor, you’ll get a better understanding of what kind of editing you need. While developmental editing clears up plot holes and character development, line editing takes care of general syntax issues where grammatical errors tend to appear. Proofreading is almost always a necessity that gives your manuscript a final review for typos and last-minute details prior to publication.
But if working with an editor right after the completion of your novel feels too soon, online workshop classes are a timeless means of receiving peer feedback from writers and editors alike. Every author’s opinion is valuable and worth considering.
When it comes down to it, editing is likely the most important part of publishing a novel, so track down an editor who’s right for you and your genre and get to work!
Macy Cochran is a freelance editor and writer for the Tryon Daily Bulletin.
Want to know more about working with editors? Check out a previous blog post about working with professional editors: It's your baby, let it grow!