Self-Editing: Three Quick Tips

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.

Editpic3I 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.

Loser words

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.

Read aloud

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.

AuthorPic.jpgShe’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.



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You can also find Rebekah on all social media platforms where she frequently interacts with followers and fangirls over her own favorite authors.




20 thoughts on “Self-Editing: Three Quick Tips

  1. Hey Rachel! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and stopped by. My copy of the Emotional Thesaurus is looking pretty ragged from all the use Lol! But you’re right. It’s helped to keep character reactions from being repetitive.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great quick and easy tips. Really boiled down the essence and made it simple. Robyn has taught me so much by her edits of my work and she always tells me how much you and her other critique partners helped her. Thanks to both of you for sharing your knowledge. Now I am off to get my copy of the Emotional Thesaurus. My characters breathe way to much. I know God has given us every breath, but I need to learn his subtleties for the worlds I am creating for his glory:-).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Kent! Thank you so much for stopping by Robyn’s blog. Isn’t she great with critiques? She has a wonderful perspective and a real heart for helping others. Hopefully the Emotional Thesaurus will be a good resource for you. I refer to it during almost every chapter I’m crafting. Best wishes for your writing journey! It’s great to meet another Christian author.


    1. Thanks for visiting my blog, Laura. And congrats on making the finals in Golden Heart! I heard that’s really tough. Of course, I’m not surprised as many times as you beat me in contests last year! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m glad the post was helpful. Yes, those “loser words” can be very sneaky, but also wonderful to chop off when trying to get that word count down. Thank you for stopping by, and best wishes for your writing!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great article and tips, Rebekah. I keep my Emotion Thesaurus at my elbow. I have tabs in the book for quick access and a ton of written-in additions to the pages. Couldn’t do without it.

    Those words you called loser words are “weasel” words in my book. I have personal weasels I weed out of every chapter as well. But this is a good basic list.

    Thank you, Robyn, for bringing us this blog by Rebekah. (And a personal note to you. Wish you were still critiquing my work. wink…wink…LOL)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL Thanks for commenting and the encouragement, Sharon! I always enjoyed your subs. I was thinking about posting to Scribes again. I may have to do that. I was excited to see your novel release. Congrats!


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