1. Philliggi

    Philliggi New Member

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    Editing help

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Philliggi, Aug 8, 2018.

    Right. It's done and dusted. Book written. 63076 words it's took me over a year to write. (I don't find much time with 2 kids and a full time job).

    Now onto editing. This is the first full length piece I have ever written so haven't a clue where to start. Has anyone got any good websites I can follow, sort of a step by step guide?

    I've typed the whole thing up using word on my phone, so I know for a fact there are going to be quite a few typos, (tiny keys and lumpy thumbs don't mix well).

    There is also a bit of work to do on the structure of the story, ie do I put across elements in real time or deliver them as flash backs.

    I've got 8 or 9 people reading it at The moment and am awaiting their feedback, to tell give me an idea as to how it's packaged as a whole.

    I'm thinking the best way to go about it is as follows:

    Fix rewrites
    Sort structure
    Fine tooth comb it for spelling and grammar

    Is there any advice you can give me before I start? Is this the best way to go about it? Or can you simply point me in the right direction to any good editing resources. Any help is much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance

    (There are probably thousands of threads on here already about the same thing, but I genuinely couldn't find them. Apologies for the probable thread duplication)
     
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  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Unemployed Autodidact Contributor

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    My first piece of advice would be to now let it sit idle (no peeping) for a fortnight+. Hang around here and focus on the writey as opposed to recreational threads—dip in a bit/partake.

    From there, with feedback from readers and fresher, wiser eyes, return to your piece to stitch in the fixes.

    fwiw 8 or 9 betas—you're gonna get some conflicting feedback there. :meh: A certain skill necessary, I'd say, in sorting the wheat from chaff.

    Oh, congrats too—few get to your stage in writing (ever!).
     
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  3. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    One of the most important things you can do now is download it into a computer. You can't edit and format on a phone. Get an old used one if money is a concern, or borrow one, but get it into Word so you can edit properly. My admiration for writing 67k words on a phone, sounds like a lot of work!
     
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  4. Lew

    Lew Member Supporter Contributor

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    And if you can['t afford Office or Word, use the free WordPad that resides on all Windows machines. That is a stripped down Word lite
     
  5. Dreamer96

    Dreamer96 Member

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    You kinda just have to make up your own editing guide. Put it in steps and write it down somewhere. Like @Lew said, get it onto a computer. There are websites that will help with proofreading such as http://www.hemingwayapp.com/.

    Good luck
     
  6. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Congrats! on finishing a novel.
    I'm going through the same thing as I've just finished mine. I'd suggest uploading it onto a computer so it will be easier to go over.

    Use flashbacks only when necessary unless they're super important to the plot -- I just finished reading a story of a woman who woke from a coma and the entire novel
    was done in flashbacks to show how she got there. The flashbacks though were treated as full scenes. So it all depends on your story and what you're using the flashback for.

    Here's my list of editing techniques -- Story content, Grammar.
    I'm reading through -- deciding what's to be kept, ditched, rewrote. I'm also thinking of moving scenes to help with the story flow. I'm highlighting plot holes or things that don't make sense. I'm also going through it to make sure dialogue sounds good, that all the characters don't sound too similar, and changing up details that
    may seem cliché or boring. If a subplot or character isn't working I'll chop him or it out.
    Once I've got that sorted out I'm going to work on Grammar, spelling, sentence structure and changing words.
    I wouldn't tackle grammar until you have the story structure worked out because you might be wasting time polishing paragraphs you may find need to be ditched.
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Member Supporter Contributor

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    Excellent, @Philliggi ! Congratulations. You have now 'written.' Nice feeling, isn't it?

    Like @Lew, I'm amazed you could write a whole novel on a phone. But like him, I'm also hoping you get it onto a computer so you can start the work of getting it into shape.

    I think you're going about it the right way. Nine betas isn't too many, although I would caution you not to use up all your betas with your first draft. They are NOT going to want to read it again, so you will need more as you progress with the editing and your versions become better. But it's good to get a lot of feedback. Yes, some of it will be contradictory, and some people's feedback will be more useful than others. However, if nearly everybody has trouble with a certain aspect of the story, then you can be pretty sure that element needs work.

    As to sorting the wheat from the chaff, as @SethLoki suggests ...it is a skill you will develop as you become more experienced. Try not to make the mistake of either rejecting criticism because you don't like what it's telling you, or taking everybody's criticism on board and driving yourself cuckoo. If what the beta says makes sense to you, then you'll know what to do. If it doesn't make sense to you ...try to figure out why they said it.

    Your changes will probably boil down to what is effective, rather than what people 'like.' Some people will never like what you write, just as not everybody loves every author. You'll need to develop a feel for what truly isn't working, rather than becoming too concerned about people who wouldn't like the story no matter how it was written. This is where having multiple betas is excellent, because if some of them like the story (even if they find a few faults) you'll have a target audience. Pay attention to their criticism in particular.

    Some people hate the editing process, but I love it. It's fun to watch your story getting better and better. And you'll be learning at the same time. You are unlikely to make the same mistakes again, if you get them corrected in your first novel. (Typos aside ...everybody makes typos!)

    If you discover you have several issues to deal with, try to break them down and deal with them one at a time. If you have a problem with your story structure, and your characters aren't believable, and you have used too many adjectives, and your dialogue goes on and on and your ending is weak and your beginning is kind of an infodump ...well, pick one of these and see what you can do to improve it. Maybe start with making your characters believable, because without them, your story will not gel. Then maybe sort the story structure. Make sure your ending satisfies your readers. Figure out how much of the beginning infodump you could drop or work in later on. And etc. As @peachalulu suggested, it's probably best to leave the word/sentence tinkering and proofreading till after all the other major elements have been sorted. Just don't try to correct everything at once. You'll feel overwhelmed and discouraged, when you should be feeling excited and motivated.

    Enjoy this stage! It's fun. It really is. Just be openminded towards the feedback, take things slowly, break down the problems into bite-sized elements, and you'll be fine.
     
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