Beginning writers have a lot to learn about crafting a book that will succeed in their genre. Things like reader expectations, world building, creating believable characters, and crafting unique settings all make a difference. Of course, you also need a firm grasp of grammar, punctuation, and literary devices like irony and metaphor. Once you work hard and reach the final page of your manuscript, there are still important steps before you publish.
Self-editing fiction is both one of the most important and potentially difficult steps in your path to profits. These tips will help you do a great job, so your story is in the best shape possible.
1 – Put Your Story Away for a While
Right after you have finished a story, the whole thing is still stuck in your head. Editing at this point may not be as effective as waiting for a while to look at it with fresher eyes. Some recommend a one-week break while others suggest multiple months between finishing your first draft and the first round of self-editing.
2 – Look for Plot Holes and Inconsistencies
After you pull out your manuscript again, begin the self-editing process by looking for the big story problems that can get in the way of reader enjoyment. Plot holes are moments when things don’t quite make sense or add up logically. For example, if a character is imprisoned in chapter one and you show them going to the supermarket in chapter three, you need some sort of explanation covering how they got out of jail so they could go shopping. Inconsistencies have to do with timelines, characterization, and more. For example, if your leading lady has blonde hair at the beginning of the book and brown hair at the end, it is either a mistake or a dye job.
3 – Make the Language Support the Story
The next self-editing step involves changing the language, sentence structure, literary devices, and similar things to help it support the story. For example, if you have an action scene, the sentences should be short and punchy to get the reader excited. Using things like assimilation and onomatopoeia are better suited for comedic sections than high drama.
4 – Fix Writing Errors, Typos, and More
Your last step is line editing and proofreading. Polish the grammar, spelling, and punctuation as well as you are able to. Of course, professional writers should know how to handle these things with a high degree of skill.
Do Not Forget the Professional Edit and Proofread
No matter how good you are, however, you cannot catch everything. Before you self-publish your manuscript, always get a professional edit and proofread to make sure your book is as great as possible.