Here are my top 12 tips for when you reach the editing stage.
- If it’s fiction, are the characters plausible? Do they sound real?
- Are the themes working? What is the one big message of your book? How do the sub-themes relate to it?
- Is it tightly written, where every word carries meaning and builds the picture? Or is it full of waffle that needs to be pared down? Make every word count.
- Double check your spelling. 'Form' and 'From' are both words spellcheck will recognise but they might be incorrect in that sentence.
- Are there any excessively long sentences you can cut in two?
- If it’s how-to, are the instructions clear for the level of skill you're writing for? i.e. for beginners, intermediate... Do the steps come in the right order? Do you have a contents page? Does the manual have illustrations or photos? Is it inspiring and encouraging as well as informative?
- Is there enough description to create vivid images in a reader’s mind? Is it groaning under the weight of too much description? Show, don't tell, but make sure it's balanced - like Barbara Kingsolver.
- Is your formatting standard all the way through? If not, make sure there's a reason for this which enhances the readers' experience.
- Cut 'in order to'. You never need it. If you’re going to the kitchen in order to make a sandwich… Your sentence could be tighter. Because you’re really going to the kitchen to make a sandwich.
- Same goes for the word 'currently'. Cut it. If someone is working as a sous-chef, they are there currently and it doesn't need to be highlighted twice.
- Are there holes in the plot, or anything you’ve hinted at early and then forgotten to tie up?
- If it’s memoir, is it engaging? Will anyone care what you did, and why? Check out this great blog on writing a memoir people actually want to read from Stand Out Books.
Don't give up. Editing can seem daunting and tiresome, but it'll make your book so much better if you get a few things a little tighter. Refine it and make it better, step by step.
Thanks for reading,
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Born to be a Tourist