1. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    How do I edit?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ulramar, May 17, 2014.

    My manuscript is just about done. It's 94,000 words divided in 36 chapters. I finished the actual writing two months ago. So far what I've done editing wise is reading everything out loud to myself to check for things that don't make sense (you read slower out loud so it makes you more careful and aware, I've found). Then I did the edits there. I then read the whole thing in one fell swoop and made sure everything made sense grammar wise (I missed some small things) and then checked for plot consistency. I handed it out to three friends. One has gone MIA for other reasons, one isn't helpful, one gave up because she didn't have time.

    What do I do? I'm stuck. I want to get ready to look for a publisher and all that stuff, but I don't feel like I'm done. It seems fine tuned to me, but I doubt it is. What am I missing from my editing process, and what do you all do?
     
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you seem to have skipped doing 2 reads [one as an editor and one as a reader] and at least 1 editing round on printed copies... this allows you to see the work from a different perspective than on the screen and will help you to find all the goofs and glitches that you can keeps missing, when editing on the computer...
     
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  3. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Finding solid readers is a struggle, and don't hold it against your friends. There are multiple reasons they may not have completed the task.

    Several suggestions (in addition to what Mammamaia said--especially the print edition):
    Set it aside for a while and work on something else. You'll have a better perspective when you get back to it. In the big scheme of things another few months won't make a difference. And you'll be making progress on another writing project, so the time won't have been 'wasted'.

    Also, there are online programs/option that can text read to you. While reading orally is a strategy, still our minds sometimes insert what actually wrote with what we intended to write. The pronunciations and pacing isn't always on target, but that can have it's advantages.

    Finally, you can change the font. It will 'reformat' the story and make it appear different, allowing you to catch errors, especially those that may have occurred at the end of a line, and got overlooked as your eyes tracked to the next line to continue.

    Good luck as you move forward.
     
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  4. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I find it impossible to read it at a reader. I read it and I know what's going to happen. There are few surprises in my work and it's boring to read. I get bored, so it's painful for me to read it. But yes, I've done two editor readings. I've thought about doing printed readings, but oh my goodness if I have to print that much out my family/school would kill me.

    I have worked on side projects. I started on a sequel and fiddled around with that a bit but I want to get back to work and push on with my main work. And it pains me to let it sit there. I'll try the text reading. Thanks!
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You could also write a scene or short story, not as part of your novel, for review here. This may be a depressing experience--people may point out problems that you then realize exist on every page of your manuscript--but if you have any bad habits, you do want to know before you start submitting that manuscript.
     
  6. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've got a short story (well, first half of the first chapter of a much later book down the line) that I'm going to post here once my two weeks pass. I'm very excited for you all to rip my work up and tell my my faults. I'm almost hoping for a 'depressing' experience, because you all will be nicer than the publishers would be.
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I will enthusiastically second what @TWErvin2 said. Put it away for a while. A good long while. Several weeks, a month ...even longer. The reason you can't read it 'as a reader' is because you're too close to having written it. You're still thinking like a writer.

    I GUARANTEE if you let it sit long enough, you'll come back to it with fresh eyes. What works well will pop out at you (did I write that?) and what doesn't work will also pop out at you (did I write THAT???) I can't think of any single thing that works better than distance, if you want to achieve meaningful results while editing.
     
  8. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first pass I was like "holy crap, did I REALLY put that in there? I mean, REALLY?" But that was only at small tidbits relating to my life. Everything else was unsurprising to me.
     
  9. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Has any of it been critiqued? Consider putting a small selection in the workshop or join a critique group and get some feedback on the quality and style.

    Have you written a query letter?
     
  10. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    No critique groups in my area, I think. But I've looked. I gain access to the workshop this Monday and I will be posting work. A few select bits have been critiqued by friends who are fans of science-fiction/fantasy, and they enjoyed the bits I gave them to read. They said nothing bad about my writing style other than that it's not something they've seen before (First person, present tense, switching between perspectives of 6 different characters, new one every chapter).

    And I've never written a query letter. I haven't gotten that far.
     
  11. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You could approach members of this forum whom you trust via PM and ask if they might beta-read for you?

    @Wreybies - is it against the rules to ask for volunteer beta readers from the forum? I do remember Cog saying it's frowned upon, but would it be in breach of forum rules?

    I know I found an excellent reader from this forum - well, more than a reader, she helped get me unstuck which is the only reason I have a manuscript to edit now lol. I'm pretty sure members exchange stories between themselves. Anyway, the internet might be your best bet if your own circle of friends aren't helping and there's no writers' group nearby.

    What's your book about?
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible" switches POV like that.

     
  13. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    The main character Justin Thompson wakes up six months after his plane crashes to find his world invaded by evil casters that can resurrect the dead, who are bent on killing off and enslaving the population of our planet. Justin Thompson and other survivors of this new world join a group called the Order of the Flame to fight off the evil necromancers, the Death Collegiate.

    I'll post my work in the workshop and then ask for beta readers. I'm currently beta reading for someone who was looking for a reader on another forum, and she volunteered to beta read for me. So I'll be taking her up on her offer once I'm at that point.

    I'll be looking into The Poisonwood Bible after I'm done with my current reading. I'm curious how they played out the perspectives.
     
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  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I've not overlooked this tagging. ;) There is no wording currently in the forum rules that addresses this in particular so I have posed this as a discussion in the Mod Chat. I would rather the answer we give be more clearcut than what you've received.
     
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  15. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Well the truth is I've honestly never read the forum rules... :D I do remember though Cog mentioning how in the past things got unpleasant after members agreed to do beta-reading and the author got all... crazy, pushing for things to be read and etc. @Cogito ? This beta-reading thing's come up before except I don't remember what the rule/answer was.

    Well, do let us know!
     
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  16. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Regardless of what may have transpired in the past, here is the ruling as it is today:

    Which can now be found here ;)

    :rules:
     
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  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Nice scroll.
     
  18. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Shame about the font though.
     

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