Editing Fundamentals Leave time and then reacquaint yourself with the work
Keep all drafts
Reread on the computer and in print
Quick read through & slow read & read aloud
Start with the big changes and move onto smaller ones viewfromheremagazine.com This is important it allows a reader room to interact with the text and to feel what is going on and is therefore more likely to provoke an emotional response and connection with the story and characters.
Don’t tell the reader things i.e. she was cross
Show them i.e. She clenched her fists Show Don’t Tell viewfromheremagazine.com Keep related words together …
He noticed a large stain in the rug that was right at the center.
He noticed a large stain right in the center of the rug.
Watch out for echoes viewfromheremagazine.com Editing 3: Dialogue Check that your dialogue:
Avoids 'information dumping‘
Do not use dialect unless your ear is good viewfromheremagazine.com Recommended Reading The Elements of Style by William Shrunk Jr. and E. B. White
On Writing by Stephen King
The Writer's Workbook, co-edited by Jenny Newman, Edmund Cusick and Aileen La Tourette
The Art of Fiction by David Lodge viewfromheremagazine.com What is Editing?
Polishing viewfromheremagazine.com Exercise 1
Read through the first page of your work
Is this the best place to start my story?
Is the point of view right?
Is anything missing or extraneous? viewfromheremagazine.com Avoid was, were, are etc which keep the action at arm’s length. e.g.
The ball was kicked by the footballer. to
The footballer kicked the ball.
Let the reader make their own connections
Use specific details
Watch out for emotion words, sad, happy Show Don’t Tell viewfromheremagazine.com Avoid intensifiers
Omit “that” if you can ...
He knew that he could do it
He knew he could do it
“And then” : use and or then
Watch out for overuse of “looked”
Don’t spell dates except in dialogue Elements of Style viewfromheremagazine.com Exercise 2 Take your first page
Underline all adverbs and adjectives (adverbs modifiy verbs and often end with a ly and an adjective modifies a noun.)
With each, ask yourself whether it is needed
Can you show rather than tell?
e.g. Mother retorted impatiently vs
Mother said, gathering plates in noisy heaps. viewfromheremagazine.com Editing 4: Technicalities Text layout
dialogue viewfromheremagazine.com The View From Here
Editing Your Book Workshop By Mike French & Shanta Everington Me, Myself & I “There have to be two personalities in every writer. A, who produces the first drafts, has to be creative, impetuous, wilful, emotional, sloppy: B, who works on them, has to be argumentative, self-righteous, cautious, rational, effective.”
– Fay Weldon viewfromheremagazine.com Editing 1: The Big Changes Revise for meaning
The meaning of your novel may evolve
Revise for character
Consider backstory, dialogue, point of view
Revise for structure
Don't have to have a beginning, middle & end!
Consider pacing, organisation of time etc
Drop in & out of scenes – find your window viewfromheremagazine.com Editing 2: The Detail Revise for style
Vivid imagery – use all 5 senses
Don't overuse adverbs and adjectives
Delete needless words e.g. then, suddenly
Avoid 'showing off' (the reader doesn't want to be reminded that the author exists!)
SHOW, DON'T TELL!!! viewfromheremagazine.com openSee the full transcript