Ready to edit your own writing? That’s great, but where do you begin? Well, fret not, because today we will discuss four ways you can edit your own writing. Editing your own work is necessary whether you are hiring an editor or not. When you send a piece of writing to an editor, they will expect a level of editing to be done already, to make it as readable as possible. They will also provide you with notes that you can work on, so understanding how to edit your work is important.
Change the Format
It can really help to change the format in which you view your work. For example, if you have written your novel on a laptop, print it off and hold the work physically. If you want to read it but don’t feel like you want to sit down and go through it, get a text-to-speech reader to help you (NaturalReader is a great option). Then, you can play your work back to yourself, enjoy a cup of tea, and make notes along the way.
Grammarly is so helpful for taking a step beyond the spellchecker and understanding more about your writing. It might be that you are using a word repeatedly or that you have used ‘that’ instead of ‘who’ when referring to a character – whatever it is, Grammarly is pretty good at picking up on it. It’s free to use the basic version too! Is it always right? No, but you can use your writer’s eye to decide what you want to pay attention to.
Read and Relax
A big part of getting ready to edit your own writing is reading the work. It can be challenging to take a step back and see your work from the reader’s point of view when you are, in fact, the writer. So, what is the remedy? Pretend to be somebody else.
Yep – that might sound strange, but it is the reason that you only spot a typo in a much-edited email after you have sent it out. It’s because the moment you send it out, you are putting yourself in the shoes of the reader. So, this is what you should aim to do when reading your work. Pretend to be your ideal reader, grab yourself a cup of tea, and sit back, relax, and read the novel you just picked up from the shelf.
Remove the Unnecessary
We all have words that we overuse in text. For example, the term ‘that’ is usually not required. So, here are words to do a search and replace, or a search and remove, in your manuscript:
Suddenly (If something is suddenly happening, try and find a new way to say it. I usually find that when something ‘suddenly’ occurs in a novel, I am pulled out of the story. The word suddenly is your cue to slow down the event, and draw out the action a little more.)
There you are, four ways to edit your own writing! If you are looking for an editor, get in touch today. Whether it is a developmental edit, a critique, a copy edit, or a proofread, I can help.
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