Self-editing

I’ve just finished my first round of self-editing, editing my manuscript and then making the changes in my electronic copy, and I wanted to share something I started doing and found really helpful.

I’m a very visual person, so when faced with a big document of black and white, I found it tricky to see what I had edited, where I was and where I would be going. This is what I did to help.

If you’re a writer too, have you any similar tips for when you’re self-editing?

Self-editing

I have to admit I’m enjoying self-editing my book. Prior to this, I had little experience of editing, let alone self-editing. Consequently, I researched lots and, as per normal, ended up finding my own way.

I have marked books and assessments for over 10 years, but always within the constraints of the school’s expectations and marking code. Here, I have found editing my own book a little similar to my book marking, but without the worry of staying within a marking code and failing to meet expectations. In other words, I can rip my book to shreds and not worry about upsetting anyone by my brutal honesty! I can also use other colours other than red and green. Simple things.

I have already scrapped two characters, if you count a cat enough of a character. My male lead has changed quite significantly too. (But I won’t post any spoilers here, as I don’t want to spoil it for those on my mailing list – who will be given the five chapters free once they are ready).

Things that have worked for me:

Read-Through – I have found doing several read-throughs, marking in different colours, highly beneficial. Whilst some articles recommend focusing first on typos, then on punctuation, etc. I find I can’t do this: if I encounter problems I have to sort them straight away.

My first read-through was a lot less brutal than my second, so I would recommend anyone else in a similar situation reading through their manuscript several times.

Kindle-Editing I have also found it extremely useful emailing a mobi copy of my manuscript to read on my Kindle. Apart from it being such a thrill to see my book as a readable eBook, it’s been very useful highlighting and making notes for improvement whilst reading. I shall keep doing this every couple of chapters so that my book will have been self-edited to oblivion before sending it onto professional editors.

Making notes on my Kindle.
Self-Editing featuring my lovely multi-coloured pen, and my Kindle.