Had to share this wonderful post for writers from Jacqui Murray of Worddreams. Jacqui is an author/blogger and adjunct professor of integrating technology in education and every week she shares some informative writing tips. This week’s share is her 19 Tips for Self-Editing.
Now that I’ve published my first novel, To Hunt a Sub, I can say from experience that writing it and editing it took equally long periods of time (and marketing is just as involved).
After finishing the final rough draft (yeah, sure) and before emailing it to an editor, I wanted it as clean possible. I searched through a wide collection of self-editing books like these:
The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer
Self-editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne
The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing by Evan Marshall
…and came up with a list of fixes that I felt would not only clean up grammar and editing, but the voice and pacing that seemed to bog my story down. Here are ideas you might like:
- Use ‘was’ only twice per page. This includes ‘were’ and ‘is’.
- Limit adverbs. Search for ‘ly’ endings and get rid of as many as possible.
- Watch out for bouncing eyes–
- He dropped his eyes to the floor.
- His eyes roved the room
- Use gerunds sparingly. Search for -ing endings and eliminate as many as possible.
- Eliminate ‘very’.
- Eliminate ‘not’ and ‘n’t’–switch them to a positive. Rather than ‘he couldn’t run, he was so tired‘, say ‘he stumbled forward, his legs so tired they refused to obey’.
- Eliminate dialogue tags as often as possible. Indicate a speaker by actions. Those you keep should be simple, like said. CONTINUE READING