All writing needs an editor. In the best of all possible worlds, the editor is an outside eye who’s intention is to make your work the best it can be in terms of look (grammar, punctuation, missing words, spelling), content (do all your plot points line up? Is there contradiction? Do your facts make sense?) and efficiency (Are you repeating yourself? Are you using a paragraph to describe something when a sentence will do?).
More often than not, the best of all possible worlds is not available to you. If you have an editor, they may not have your best intentions at heart. They may have many manuscripts to read through. Further to that, what if your work is unpublished and the only person available to edit your manuscript is you?
How do you edit your own work? Follow these simple steps.
Time creates distance.
Put the manuscript away for at least a week. Maybe even two. Put some distance between yourself and the writing. If you try to edit right after you’ve finished the draft you’ll still be in writers mode. The manuscript is still precious. The more time you can put between finishing and editing, the easier it will be to wear that editor’s hat. Distance can help you see the work as someone else’s and not your own. This is especially important when being your own editor. Look at the writing through the lens of the outsider and make edits accordingly.
Read the manuscript backwards.
A great trick for catching typos, missing words and other structural mistakes is to go through the manuscript backwards. This forces you to focus on each individual word as opposed to the story and the content. Because it’s your own writing, if you focus on the content, your brain will naturally insert missing words into sentences and gloss over mistakes – you know what’s supposed to be there. Mistakes and errors stand out when you read backwards.
Separate out plot points and character journeys.
As you edit, have a piece of paper beside you. On the page make a point form list for each character. Write down what happens to them throughout the work. What is their journey? When that journey is on a separate page as opposed to within the context of the story, you’ll see clearly what’s working and what’s missing. Is the journey consistent or inconsistent? Does it make sense? Any repeats?
Do the same exercise with the plot points in your story. What’s working and what’s missing? Does the point form list make sense? What is consistent or inconsistent?Click Here best manuscript editing services