Despite stopping to waste time worrying about what I need to do about marketing, I am back at editing tonight, round three. The two days since I finished the total rewrite and structural edit, were needed by me before I could do the line edits.
The big edits include major changes to the story. These are some of them.
1. I look for inconsistencies from the beginning of the novel to the end. Like changing a character’s name from John to Jason half-way through, or the baby who is one year at the beginning but three by the end, only two months later in my story line.
2. Killing darlings, that is taking out characters who do little, or eliminating scenes that don’t do one of the three chores of a scene. These are moving the plot forward, increasing stakes, or showing character development.  If I have a weakness it would be not taking out favorite scenes, but I try to rewrite them so they are working and essential to the story.
3. I check the character arc, to make sure the characters undergo some growth or change. Began writing short stories, and a character change or come-to-realize moment was always part of a selling story.
4. Since writing a few scripts and reading lots of books on screenwriting, I am much more aware of story tension. If things are too easy on your character, the tension evaporates, and readers lose interest. Since I’ve been writing stories about women and their ordinary lives in the eighteen hundreds, this can be difficult. But I try to keep their minds on the big obstacles they are facing, even in simpler moments like cooking or tending a sick child.  An excellent book to help with story tension is by Debra Dixon called GMC: Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

5. I did a lot of sentence edits during my big rewrite. Making sentences less bloated or convoluted, and more direct. I will check if I caught all these by running the chapters through my Hemingway App. After doing a few books, I have pretty much abandoned the endless sentence style of Faulkner, and although not Hemingway, I am writing more directly even in draft mode. Not.

Jody’s infographic names these first two steps as macro-edits, and line edits.
Now comes the nitpicking stage of, grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
I also like this method by an elementary teacher, called Arms and Cups.  These match the line edits and copy edits above.

Sol Stein says, “One plus one equals one-half.” He means that if you use two adjectives at a time rather than choosing the stronger of the two, you cut your impact in half. (Jerry Jenkins, 5 Ninja Self-Editing Tips.)

Don’t use flowery attributions like “he said gravely,” or “he shouted enthusiastically,” or any other variations that read like Horatio Alger and his rags to riches tales.

I have tons of lists on editing grammar on my Pinterest board for writers, https://www.pinterest.com/bieryj/writers/.

Here is one, although there are lots of tools like Grammarly (free version), PaperRater.com (free), and other tools online that help with most of these.

I trust my early readers to catch the things I miss, bless their hearts.



2 thoughts on “EDITING TIPS”

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