“There is no mistaking the dismay on the face of a writer who has just heard that his brain child is a deformed idiot.”
— L. Sprague de Camp
“A good editor will not just point out errors; she explains them, providing you with an education to enable you to perform a stronger rewrite. For instance, if your manuscript includes point-of-view violations—a major reason for fiction rejection—she will offer a thorough explanation of the concept and provide easy-to-understand examples. A good editor will encourage you and compliment you on your strengths, but she will not hold back in showing you where you need improvement or are making repeated mistakes. She does not expect you to know all the book publishing rules for copyediting—that’s her job. But she does try to help you understand some basic underlying principles that you might need to learn in order to be a better writer. A good editor knows your book is your “baby” and that you have poured many hours into writing it, but her goal is to help you make that book the best it can be, and sometimes that requires you, the author, to make drastic changes. In other words, a good editor is “on your side” and wants to help, but she is mostly concerned with getting your book in the best shape possible.”
— C. S. Lakin / critiquemymanuscript.com
“1. The Close-In Writing
The basic method: You write a day’s worth of work (either fiction or nonfiction)—whatever that means for you. Next day, before you write anything new, you revise and edit the previous day’s work. This is the “close-in writing,” and becomes the first draft—the first time your write your book.
2. The Close-In Edit
When the entire first draft is complete, you go back through and, beginning with word one to the end, you revise and edit the entire manuscript on your computer. This is the “close-in edit,” and becomes your second draft: the second time you write your book.
3. The Distance (or “Hand”) Edit
Next, you print a hard copy of the second draft of your entire manuscript. Beginning with word one to the end, you hand-edit the hard copy, scrawling notes and profanities to yourself all the way through the margins. Then, using your hand-edit notes as a reference, you go back into your computer file and revise the manuscript as needed. This is the “distance edit,” and becomes your third draft: the third time you’ve written your book.
4. The Oral Edit
Finally, you print a new hard copy and read your entire manuscript aloud. Read it to the walls, to your spouse, to the patrons at Starbucks, to your dog, to the bowl of soggy Cocoa Puffs left over from breakfast. Doesn’t matter who’s in the room, only that you can hear yourself reading it. Start with word one and don’t stop until you read the last word. Yes, it may take you several days, but that’s OK. Keep reading every word out loud until you’re done.”
To read more on how to edit your book to its best, with tips from WritersDigest, click HERE.
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