Monday, June 17, 2013

Do you need help Editing? - This might be for you!

So I had three lovely weeks holidays in the Canaries. I came home to grass up to my knees, laundry baskets bulging, a house minded by my son (don't even go there), unpacked suitcase with dirty washing that won't see the laundry baskets for some time, a 'To Do' list as long as your arm, and no food in the house. Nothing unusual there!!

Anyhow, I've lots of lovely news for you all, but you'll have to wait a little while longer. I can tell you that RED RIBBONS is doing well, and that it's been spotted on sale at a flea market in Spain - I kid you not, International acclaim here I come!!!!

But just to get you all back in the mood, and yes, I know you missed me, and I certainly missed you - (addicted to social media? who said that?) here's a great piece on editing from Derbhile Graham, Author of The Pink Cage. You can find out more about Derbhile here at www.writewordseditorial.ie/

How to Edit Your Own Writing

You’ve finished the first draft of your story. You’re exhausted, but exhilarated. Whoo hoo, you think. All the hard work is over. But it hasn’t. In fact, the fun has just begun. They say that all writing is rewriting. I’m going to take a liberty and say that after that frenzied first draft, all writing is editing. And it’s now that the editing process begins.

After the First Draft

Editing your own work is quite a challenge. You’re snowblind from all the words you’ve written; you’re too immersed in the world you’ve created to see straight. But at this delicate stage, you are the best person to edit your own work. Your ideas still need nurturing. If you turn it over to an editor after the first draft, the editor may unwittingly snip away some prize blooms along with the dead wood.

To clear away the snow blindness, step away from your work. Have a break. Have a Kit Kat. Watch trash television. After a while, you’ll feel an itch and you know it’s time to return to the work. Now you’ll be able to approach it with fresh eyes, almost as if a different person wrote it.

Large and Small Cuts

As you read the draft, the central thread of the story will become clearer to you. Now is the time to be ruthless. Anything that does not relate to that central thread needs to go. This culling process will help your central story shine through. It’ll be easier for readers to follow your thread, and you’re less likely to get bogged down in sub-plots.

When you’ve done that, take another short break, then read it out loud. You’ll be amazed at the amount of repetitions, clunky sentences and inconsistencies you’ll spot. Don’t lose heart – these are a natural part of the writing process. This is a good way to reduce your word count without cutting out too much of the story. You don’t have to kill as many of your darlings as you think.

Advanced Editing

Take a break again, and this time when you return to it, start at the end and read backwards. This breaks the attachment you’ve developed with your story. Read the last sentence, then the sentence before that and so on. Our eyes naturally correct what we read, but reading backwards helps you to separate the words and letters and weed out rogue typos.

A special word to those writers who tend to write a little too lean and end up with a word count that falls short. I feel your pain. At this stage, pinpoint the scenes that you skimped on because you were afraid you were writing too much, and start fleshing them out. Ideally you’ll have compiled notes about your characters, settings and plot, and you can incorporate those into parts of the story that are less well developed.

Now you’re ready for that second pair of eyes. Your writing will be robust enough to withstand critiquing and copy editing. If you’ve any questions about the editing process, drop me an email on derbhile@writewordseditorial.ie


And here is another link from Novelicious about Structural Edits from Behind The Scenes at a Publishing House

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