Editing Tips by Emily Williams – Guest Post
Posted by kirstyes
On Monday author Emily Williams shared some of the research that informed her novel Letters to Eloise – do check that post out to find out more about her book. Today she shares her editing tips – do please share your top tips in the comments too.
For any other budding writers and authors out there I have complied a list of editing and proof reading tips for Letters to Eloise. These tips and tricks I developed during the writing process from my debut novel. It is great to share ideas, so I look forward to hearing more tips from other authors if you would like to share.
- After finishing writing each chapter, read through twice, and then move on. When you have finished the first draft, read through the book once more from start to finish.
- Take time away from the novel – I had two years but I don’t mean this long! It really does feel like reading the novel with fresh eyes and amazing what you can spot after doing this. I really enjoyed reading the novel again and was surprised at my own writing. Sometimes you are stuck in the moment of novel and this perspective away really helped.
- Ask a few friends/family and beta readers (unbiased) to read for content and to spot any plot holes/errors.
- Make plot/character amendments.
- Read aloud — to see if each sentence flows with the punctuation and edit any stilted sentences.
- Read aloud backwards, sentence by sentence, from finish to start. This seems tedious but really takes you away from the actual story and concentrates on the proof reading. I was lucky and had someone to do this for me for a second time.
- Proof read; make changes, and then proof read again. I made the mistake of giving the same proofread copy to different people. I wish I had waited until the first changes came back and then sent an updated version out. That way each copy comes back improved, rather than the same errors being spotted by different people over and over again!
- I discovered a list of common words to eradicate from a novel (repetitive words and ones that stilt the flow) and found each of these words by find/replace to check whether the word was still needed in the sentence or could be cut out. I also found a list of common errors such as using apostrophes to indicate contraction and searched for all of these to check they were correct. (e.g. it’s or its).
- Have some different beta readers lined up – I had several amazing readers – each one found something different from the other. Some I asked to read for errors and others to read for flow and story plot. The feedback was highly valuable.
- After all the changes are updated, read a final time.
- I sent the novel to a professional proofreader to give a final run through and then updated these last changes.
- Again, read through a final time. Next is the nightmare that I found formatting, but that is another post! I have learnt a great deal from this process.
Huge thanks go to Emily for writing these two posts for me and for sharing a copy of Letters to Eloise which I am looking forward to reading.