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?

20th August: National Radio Day

When I was young I used to listen to the local Radio Station Ram FM, now Capital. I still like to listen to it, but I have to stay I can’t stand advert after advert. I then turned to Radio 1 and happily listened to them for many years. But I got bored of RnB and bad pop, so one Christmas I turned to Classic FM for some festive-sounding Christmas songs and wasn’t disappointed. I regularly listen to it now but I have an eclectic music collection bad from my Uni days when I experimented with a lot of different sounds and realised I had a broad taste.

Whilst at Uni, as I was a student of Durham’s former Department of East Asian Studies, I came across Utada Hikaru. The manga intro to her song Passion, played a pivotal role in forming the elemental beings of my Faeries. In fact, I have named the Faeries’ realm after her: Utada. I hope you enjoy. And if you liked Kingdom of Hearts, you might recognise her.

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.

9th August: Book Lover’s Day

I love books. I was brought up surrounded by all manner of books and many of my early memories involve a book in some form or other. I remember relishing bedtime stories (Though I was always a bit of a wuss with Roald Dahl’s books, especially The Witches – gave me nightmares for days that one) I remember my neck ache as I sat on my bed, hunched over Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park, which I devoured in a day – I just couldn’t put it down! And I love my Manga: Nausicäa, Gunsmith Cats, Ghost in the Shell.

Which is probably why writing’s ended up being such a passion of mine and why I’ve ended up writing The KeyMaster.

So, to celebrate Book Lover’s Day I thought to let you have a sneak peek at the two (yes two!) prequels that I’m working on. Their working titles are Christian Blake II: The Makings of a Soul Gatherer and Isambard’s Heir: Michael Nicholas.

Happy Book Lover’s Day!

NB: These will only be made available for free to those who have signed up to my mailing list. Interested? Then sign up!

What am I doing now?

There are two weeks left until the end of the academic year here in the UK so I’m currently struggling through tests and marking. I’m really looking forward to using naptimes on my author work rather than marking and planning.

My plans for the summer are:

  1. Edit my first draft to send to my editors.
  2. Organise my author website.
  3. Find a designer for my front cover.
  4. Finish a gift for any who sign up to my mailing list.
  5. Learn how to format properly
  6. Start plotting Book 2…

I think that should keep me out of mischief! *^_^*

First Draft. Complete!

I am thrilled, and slightly scared, to announce that the first draft for Book 1 of The KeyMaster is complete! (Cue fanfare!)

I had been stressing, hoping to complete it before the end of July (I was wanting a nice round ten years!) My OCD half is annoyed I finished it early, but it’s finished! Huzza!

Now to edit. (I have 81,530 words and want *ideally* 70k. Yikes! Got my work cut out methinks)

Know any good developmental editors?