A great list to focus self-editing tasks.
A big part of the writing process is self-editing.
Self-editing means different things to different people. I’m not talking about the little things like missing words and grammar right now, but the bigger issues like plot construction and characterization–the things that can have big holes, but are harder to fix. And harder to know how to fix.
Everyone says listen to your gut. But what I am talking about is the difference between listening to your gut and actually hearing what it’s saying.
Listening to your gut: a passing thought that something might not be working.
Hearing your gut: recognizing specific weaknesses, articulating them to yourself and others, and knowing how to fix them.
Those residual feelings that your character might need to be stronger, and a bit larger than life or your plot might…
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Advice to take to heart and put into practice.
I’m a big proponent of self-editing and teaching writers how to tackle revisions on their own. I’ve given talks to writers’ groups, presented at writers’ conferences, and blogged about it before (see below for further reading). Self-editing is the difference between a novice and and someone who has trained in their craft.
So many times I get asked “Should I hire an external editor?” And I always direct writers to teach themselves editing and revision skills before going elsewhere. It’s a life skill for a career author.
Here are my 4 Reasons Why You Must Kill Your Darlings:
1. There is only one chance to make a first impression
You want to make reading your manuscript a smooth and enjoyable experience for the reader. Edit and rewrite so that your novel begins in the right place, the stakes are high, and the plot moves quickly. When…
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