I’ve invited my friend and fellow contemporary inspirational author, Rebekah Millet to share some editing tips. Get to know Rebekah because you’re in for a treat when her novel is released! So be sure to sign-up for her newsletter and enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card before you go.
Hey there fellow-writers!
First, I’d like to thank Robyn, for graciously opening her blog to me this week. I admire Robyn’s passion for helping new writers and hope this post will be useful to those starting on this journey.
I love to edit. Is that okay to say? For some it’s a dreaded part of the writing process, but for me, it means the hard element of penning the story is over. I stress over character arcs and pacing, not cleaning it all up and making it shine.
So, for those of you who are new to the world of self-editing, I’d like to offer three quick tips on getting your book closer to publication.
The following words usually can be cut from your sentences without much effect: that, down, around, very, really, just. Do a “search” through your manuscript and see if removing them tightens your sentence and makes it read better. Sometimes it won’t, but a lot of times, you’ll find it does.
Example: She turned around, her hair whipping over her shoulder.
Example edited: She turned, her hair whipping over her shoulder.
You’re only losing one word with this case, but if you comb through your entire novel and remove these words here and there, it’ll add up.
Show don’t tell
Yes, the three words that make every writer cringe. In my early days of entering contests, I would get dinged on this category. Once I truly understood what these judges were trying to convey, it was like a lightbulb going off. Try avoiding these troublemakers: felt, heard, saw, smelled.
Telling example: He felt anxious.
Show it: His leg jittered, and his stomach churned.
This helps your readers feel, and most importantly, connect with what your character is experiencing. Don’t tell us the emotional state they’re in, show us. If there’s one book I wish I had known about when I first started out, it would be The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. They have a detailed list of just about every emotion along with internal, external, and mental examples of how to show that feeling.
Once you think you’re done, it’s time to print and read your pages out loud. The sentences and scenes your eyes have scanned numerous times could be deceiving you. When you read aloud, your ears will inevitably catch errors. Hearing will also help you pick up on overly used words that make your fabulous writing sound repetitive. Yes, your throat will hurt after a while, but it’s worth it. I promise.
When editing my own work, I’ve found it’s less overwhelming to tackle the above processes one chapter at a time. Doing each of these tips can be tedious and time consuming, but it’ll be worthwhile in the end when your final manuscript goes from good to amazing.
Rebekah Millet is an award-winning author of contemporary Christian romance novels. Although she considers herself a plot-driven writer, her characters have a tendency to hijack her plans. A New Orleans native, she loves injecting her colorful culture into her stories.
She’s having an Amazon gift card giveaway! To enter, leave a comment here and click the link to sign up for her quarterly newsletter. All new subscribers will be automatically entered for the chance to win. The winner will be announced here on April 16, 2018.
You can also find Rebekah on all social media platforms where she frequently interacts with followers and fangirls over her own favorite authors. www.rebekahmillet.com