Everyone's favorite part of the process! Editing!
Does the sarcasm come through the words? No? Guess I should have edited it better.
In truth this is where I feel books take the most shape. Editing takes our rough, flawed work and polishes it to a beautiful shine. I mean, I may be editing on a budget, and my works are probably still riddled with errors, but I've learned there are always dust bunnies in even the most well written works. Even those with thousands of dollars in editing done to them have something that could be improved. Could you imagine a world with no editing?
I'm not trying to scare you, but I want you to walk into the process with open eyes. I'll talk about the types of editing, and possibly give you some ideas to add to your tool box. And there's nothing wrong with paying for editing. The only reason I don't is because I can't afford it and my wife enjoys doing it.
There are many different types of editing, each with their own specific uses. I'm not going to delve too deeply here, just a general guide on what each is for.
Proofreaders go through your work to help correct grammar and punctuation, in the lightest possible way. They leave the words as yours. They make sure it has the correct ”style” to fit the genre.
A content editor does just that, edits the contents of the book. Characters, your world, and even the storyline are the focus here.
A copy editor is a bit of both. A much harder proofread with suggested edits for smoothness. They won't edit your content, but they might change the words you use to get your story told.
I don't edit as I write, I just let the words flow, so I can keep my short attention span on task. My first drafts are a sight to behold. I joke about writing in Rilenese, but it's more truth than fiction. Misplaced punctuation, poor word choice, and sometimes a lack of depth to the writing. The trick to fixing this problem lies in repeated readings.
My first read through I do right away. I want the story as fresh in my mind as I can have it. It helps me with particularly scrambled sections, that will need more than one read through to fix. This first pass focuses on straightening up the work, and making sure everything is in the proper place. If it's not, this is the easiest time to fix it, in my humble opinion.
The second pass is when the magic begins to start. Here I check for inconsistency and ways to steer the flow of the books on to an even tighter path. The true butchery is done here as well, as I'm eager to cut out the pieces of the story that don't add to the work. The messiest of stories can turn into masterpieces if you just keep at it.
Third pass is spelling and punctuation. While I'm checking those, I continue to check my word choice and make sure the flow is maintained. By now a heavy brain fog should have settled in, and you should be ready for some separation.
Enjoy some time away. A day, a week, a month, a year. Take the time to enjoy life, or start another project, while you develop some distance from your story. You'll know when you have had enough time away, because your muse will start beckoning you to return to your unfinished work.
When you go to read for a fourth and fifth pass, read it out loud. You'd be surprised by how many errors I catch just from reading out loud. We speak and communicate daily with words, so I've found it integral to include in my writing tool box.
Only then do I hand it to someone else to look at. I'm lucky in that my wife is my co-author. She is the first line of editing after I finish. By this point the book should be close to ready for an alpha read. After that, a beta will help smooth out any other issues.
And then, you're ready to publish.
I hope this was helpful for you guys. #SupportIndieAuthors and keep being awesome!