The Editing Blues: A basic guide for dealing with them!
So you have finally after hours of hard work, lots of thinking able to complete your first work of literature? Congratulations.
Well, flash news. That is merely round one. The next milestone will be re-writing your work and editing. #iamwriting becomes #iamediting. Some writers and authors claim editing takes as much time as writing. Most agree that it is significantly more difficult task than writing. Some newbies in this turmoil-ish industry assume that this is the editor’s job. That is far from the truth. For every word and sentence, rest assured, your editor will be upon you.
But before you give your manuscript, you can refine your little gem before the final cuts.
A look through the grammar will help immensely.
See that your work checks the boxes of all grammar rules. Prepositions, the proper placing of commas, active/passive voice, avoiding the splitting of the infinitive (and the list is long). MS word provides some reasonable assistance but is prone to skipping many errors. There are some editing programs available on various platforms and stores. Some of them might be free, and some are paid. It is your discretion.
Remove words that are repetitive and those that are redundant in nature (See what I did there?). Try to eliminate jargons (Words that could be confusing, technical, incomprehensible or gibberish) that are used in your work.
Paraphrasing & Synonyms
Make a list of words which you use frequently. Try to paraphrase them. For instance, the words for “said” are quite numerous. He/she remarked, cried, insisted, bellowed etc. Synonyms are words which mean more or less the same. Google the corresponding synonyms and you will be much relieved.
Words and Vocabulary
Words are powerful constructs. Ensure you use the right words to convey the message and tone properly. The dictionary and thesaurus are your best friends here.
Type of English
Decide whether your work is British English or American. Stick to one and be consistent. Grammar is just the tip of the iceberg of editing.
BEGINNING AND ENDING
The beginning of your work grips the reader. It sets the setting of your mini-world and its subsequent mood. It can make the difference between a book collecting dust in a store or a best seller. The ending will grip the reader for your future works.
It is essential that your work has a proper structure. Divide that work into chapters depending on the sub-theme or topic. There is no golden rule of thumb for how many words a section must be. It depends really on you. See that proper paragraphing of the work has been done. Ensure that the appropriate transitions are used.
Your plot must be consistent throughout. I had one reader report to me that an object in the hands of one of the characters kept changing from right hand to left hand (in my book). It was embarrassing to make the quick edit in my work, but I was grateful for the early change.
What is the purpose of your work? What do you want the readers to think about and reflect? What is your theme of the literary work? Is there a general message? Are there sublime messages here and there? Think about these questions and write them out.
BONUS: DESCRIPTION CHECKBOX
See if you have described the following in detail:
Climate or weather
The visual imagery. The details of the surroundings and place.
Finally but not the least,
ROUND OF AUDIO LISTENING
As a writer, it incredibly helps that one of the last processes in the editing is listening to your work. It will surprise you with the errors and silly things that creep in those texts. Or how the context is portrayed.
As Stephen King says: “To write is human, to edit is divine.” Good luck, happy writing and editing!