Writing is a journey that starts with an idea, but it doesn't end there. As writers, we must take great care in revising and editing our work to ensure that our writing shines. Revision and editing are the keys to crafting engaging, compelling stories that resonate with readers. In this blog post, I discuss practical advice that can help you edit your novel with ease!
So let's begin our journey toward creating polished pieces that showcase our skills as writers!
Pin for Later!
Prepare to Revise
Before diving into the editing process, it's essential to prepare yourself mentally and physically for the task ahead. Taking a break from your writing is crucial as it allows you to approach your work with fresh eyes. When you return to your writing after a break, you'll be more likely to spot errors and inconsistencies that you may not have noticed before.
Another effective way of preparing for revisions is by reading your work out loud. This technique helps you identify awkward phrasing, grammatical errors, and areas that need improvement in terms of flow and coherence. Reading out loud also gives you a chance to hear the tone of voice in which your words sound best.
Outlining is another valuable tool when preparing for revisions. Creating an outline will help establish the structure of your work, making it easier to spot gaps in logic or places where additional information might be needed. You can also use an outline to rearrange sections or scenes if necessary.
As writers, we often fall in love with our words, making it hard for us to remove them during revisions. However, eliminating unnecessary words and phrases is essential when editing your work. This process entails searching for redundancies and phrases that do not add value or serve any purpose in advancing the story.
As part of the editing process, proofreading is crucial as it helps eliminate grammar and spelling errors that can distract readers from enjoying your work fully. Consistency is essential when revising a story; therefore, checking for consistency in character traits and plot should be done meticulously.
Tips for Editing
As a writer, it's essential to know the difference between revising and editing. Revision is about the big picture, while editing is all about the details.
The first step in editing your work is proofreading. You need to read through your writing carefully and look for any spelling or grammar errors that might have slipped through the cracks. It can be helpful to use an online tool like Grammarly or Hemingway Editor to help you catch any mistakes you might have missed. That’s the benefit of today's technology, you don’t need a professional editor if you have the time and tools to make the task easy.
Another crucial aspect of editing is checking for consistency in character traits and plot. Make sure that your characters' actions and personalities remain consistent throughout the story, and that there are no plot holes or inconsistencies in the narrative. This can be a time-consuming process, but it's well worth it in the end. You don’t want to have your reader frustrated with some eyebrow-raising dialogue or decisions that don’t work with the character in question.
Eliminating unnecessary words and phrases is also an important part of the editing process. Remember, less is often more when it comes to writing. Take a critical look at your work and cut out any words or phrases that don't add anything significant to the story.
With that stage complete, it’s now time to dive into the world of structural revisions and explore how they can help us improve our stories.
Assessing the plot is the first step in making structural revisions. Ask yourself if your story is engaging and if it flows smoothly. Does it have a clear beginning, middle, and end? If not, consider rearranging scenes or chapters to create a more cohesive narrative.
Another important aspect of structural revisions is pacing. Does your story move too quickly or too slowly? Are there parts that drag on or parts that feel rushed? Analyze each scene and determine if it serves a purpose in advancing the plot. If not, consider cutting it altogether.
Streamlining the structure of your story is also an essential part of making structural revisions. Take a step back and look at your work as a whole. Are there sections that feel repetitive or unnecessary? Can you combine two characters or subplots into one to streamline the narrative?
It's important to note that making structural revisions can be time-consuming and require significant effort on your part. However, taking the time to assess and revise your plot will ultimately make for a better reading experience for your audience.
One technique that can be helpful in this process is creating an outline of your work before diving into revisions. This allows you to visualize how each scene fits into the overall narrative structure and identify any areas that need improvement.
As with any revision process, take breaks as needed to avoid burnout and maintain a fresh perspective. Giving yourself time away from your work can also help you identify areas that need further structural revisions. Editing is an easier process than writing for most, but still, it is work that you don’t want to suffocate your enjoyment with. Take your time!
As a writer, it can be tough to hear criticism of your work. However, feedback is an essential part of the revision process, and learning how to handle critiques can make all the difference in making your writing shine.
Firstly, let's talk about why feedback is so crucial. It's easy to get stuck in our own heads when writing, making it challenging to see our work objectively. Seeking outside opinions can help us identify blind spots in our writing and improve areas that need work. It's important to remember that constructive criticism is not a personal attack; it's an opportunity for growth.
So where should you go for feedback? The first place many writers turn to is their friends and family members. While getting their opinion can be helpful, keep in mind that they may not have the expertise or objectivity necessary to give truly helpful feedback. Instead, consider joining a writing group or finding beta readers online who specialize in your genre.
Once you've received feedback on your work, it's time to start incorporating it into your revisions. It's important not just to accept critique blindly but instead evaluate each suggestion on its merits. Ask yourself if the critique will improve your story or if it goes against what you're trying to achieve with your writing.
When incorporating critiques into revisions, start with the most significant changes first before moving on to smaller details like grammar or word choice. If you're unsure about a particular suggestion but want a second opinion before implementing it fully, consider running it by someone else who has read your work.
It may also be helpful to keep track of critiques as they come in by creating a spreadsheet or document with notes on each suggestion and whether or not you've incorporated them into revisions yet.
Finally, don't forget about self-critique. While outside feedback is crucial, it's also important to be your harshest critic. Take a step back from your work periodically and evaluate it objectively as much as you can. Look for areas that could use improvement and revise accordingly.
After all the revising and editing, your work is almost ready to be published.
Firstly, it's important to read through your work one last time before hitting submit or sending it off for publishing. This is an opportunity to catch any last-minute typos or errors that may have slipped through earlier revisions. You don't want any silly mistakes distracting from all the hard work you've put into your writing.
Polishing your work also means paying attention to sentence structure and word choice. Make sure each sentence carries its own weight and contributes something meaningful to the story. Avoid filler words and phrases that don't add anything substantial. Again, this is your final scan to catch these errors, so take your time reading.
Another important aspect of finalizing your writing is ensuring that it's formatted correctly for publication. This includes things like double-checking margins and spacing, as well as making sure chapter headings are consistent throughout.
Finally, remember that no piece of writing is ever truly perfect - there will always be room for improvement if you continue revising and editing indefinitely. However, at some point, you need to let go and trust in the hard work and effort you've put into creating something special.
While I am sure that most of you reading this won’t get stuck in the editing phase for long, there are still many writers who constantly find one thing or another that needs work. It starts with a grammar correction, then a sentence revision, then a complete restructure of a scene or chapter. Don’t make this mistake and learn to leave well enough alone.
The editing phase should go by faster than the writing phase. That is my personal advice to all writers ready to tackle the long corrections. Don’t stress too much about time, you will be done faster than you think, even if you decide to rewrite entire sections of the work.
You have a fantastic grip on your story once you have written it from beginning to end, which is the main reason why these corrections and rewrites are done so fluidly. If you have edited a book before, be it your own or someone else’s, what advice would you give to beginner writers? Let me know in the comments below!
I hope you enjoyed this look at revision and editing and as always,
Good day, goodnight, and happy writing!