Hello, my friends! It’s a joy to be with you again today! So, it’s time for another writing post! If you have missed the previous posts in this series, please click here, here, here, and here to catch up 😆
The Self-edit…the dreaded monster under the bed…the dark and stormy night in the life of a writer who hated English in school…the synonym for woe…okay, Ryana Lynn, get a grip 😂 It’s not that bad. It’s actually kinda (and I will stress the kinda part) fun. And like every other part of the writing process, I have a process in which I carry it out…
1. Set the book aside for at least a week.
Just like with revisions, I always have to take a step away from my project if I am going to be able to edit it properly.
2. Print it out.
I have an awesome printing company that I use (they are local!) and they print and spiral bind my proof copies for me. Depending on the length of the project, I sometimes print it out myself.
3. Color-Code Edit.
If you are not familiar with Victoria Minks and the Color-coded Editing process, y’all need to become friends real fast because she will save you so much frustration editing. (Link to her post on this topic here) The basic rundown is this: you assign a color to the different types of problems you are looking for. Ex. An Orange pen for plot holes, a blue pen for grammar errors, and green pen for dialogue issues, etc. Then, you read through your manuscript, looking only for one type of problem at a time and marking them and making notes on them in the chosen color. Victoria is much better at explaining it so, please check out her post. 😋 The awesome thing about it is, it’s totally flexible. You pick whatever color works for you for whatever problem you have. You can also add other things to look for, depending on what your writing struggle is! Ex. You can go through marking all the historical dates and names to make sure they are correct or footnoted.
I take my now well marked-up manuscript and keep it by me as I make the changes on my computer. If it’s an extensive amount of changes, I may decide to repeat step 3 and 4.
5. Find my problem words.
I could actually do this along with step 4…anyway, I have found lists of words on the internet that writers tend to overuse. Such as was, began, heard, started…anything that turns your story into passive tense.
Passive Version: Seth felt all the blood drain from his face and he began to sweat. He started to run, but his legs wouldn’t cooperate. He heard the soldier coming. He knew he needed to get moving. He was terrified of what might happen.
Fixed version: All the blood drained from Seth’s face, sweat popping out on his forehead. His legs, completely numb, refused to help him flee. The soldier’s footsteps pounded in Seth’s ears, ever closer to his hiding place. Time ticked by and escape slipped from Seth’s grasp. His eyes widened as the soldier parted the bushes…it was too late.
Which paragraph made it easier for you to picture what was happening? Did the 2nd one help you see that Seth was scared rather than me telling you he was scared? Now, you have to be careful in removing some of these words. Was is a word that sometimes has to be used. So each must be evaluated for its need in the story. (Check out this link for an example of words to remove.) Also, keep a lookout for words that you tend to use a lot. Some of my problem words have been: Laughed, snickered, said, thought, etc. This could easily be turned into a separate writing series! Might have to think about that…
6. Edit it with Grammarly.
This post is not sponsored 😉. Grammarly is a web-editing site that checks for mistakes that spell-check misses. (Not a slam on spell-check! It has saved my neck so many times!) I use the free version of Grammarly and it is amazing! There is a paid version you can purchase, and I am considering using it in the future, as it has many useful added features. Check it out! Anyway, I open my word document and turn on the Grammarly add-on and let it process my document. After it marks all my errors, I either work on it then or later. (As long as I don’t close the add-on or the document, it keeps the corrections visible even without an intrnet connection! If you end up changing anything beyond this point, I recommend repeating this process. It will polish your manuscript very well! 😍)
7. Read it one last time.
After being sure that my manuscript is nearly the way I want it to be, I read through it one last time and…give it to my team-editor. It’s time for her to read it and give me her feed-back and…that’s the next writing post’s topic.
If anything was unclear, please let us know in the contact section and I or a member of my team (AKA my Family 😉) will be glad to try and answer your question for you!
Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!
(King James Bible)
*Emoji art supplied by Emoji One
Christian. American. Southern. Author.