Friday, 30 May 2014

What is the most efficient way to edit a manuscript?

Holly likes to help!
The most efficient way to edit your manuscript is piece by piece. I've been an editor for more than ten years, and this is the one rule I live by which gets excellent results every time.

Sound ambiguous? Let me explain.

When we read a manuscript from beginning to end, we aren't able to concentrate on every detail at once. For example, let's say at the beginning of your manuscript, you realize you have used the word cafe without the accent on the e. You make a mental note to catch that as you go along. But the next time you see the word cafe without an accent on the e, you forget to change it, because you are concentrating on fixing that awkward grammatical error on that same page.

When editing, you can't expect to do a good job if you read through your book from beginning to end and hope to see the mistakes. You are bound to miss things. Many things. The best way to edit, is to isolate all the things you need to fix, and focus on fixing one thing on your list, before moving onto the next.

Have no idea where to begin? Well, look at that, I seem to have written a book on how to do it! :-D

In Polish Your Fiction: A Quick & Easy Self-Editing Guide, I offer you my tried and tested advice on the quickest and easiest ways to polish different areas of Writing Style, Consistency of Prose, Grammar, Punctuation, Typography, and Layout.

Each section is armed with a numbered checklist for moments when you need that “at-a-glance” reminder and nifty Microsoft Word tricks that will save you time. At the end of the book there are also magnificent accounts of editorial mistakes other authors have made during their careers, to show you that no matter how many times a book is edited, something always slips through—so don’t be so hard on yourself!

Kindle edition available NOW. The paperback and ePub will be released on June 30, but they are available for pre-order. All purchase links are available HERE.

Happy editing! <3

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  1. I've never edited that way, but I'm willing to try. Usually I read small sections at a time. Reading the entire manuscript at once doesn't come until the very end.

    1. You'll be surprised how much more efficient it is. Try it out next time, perhaps!

  2. I've never done it that way either, but it sounds very logical.

  3. I am in the process of absorbing your wisdom with the review copy of Polish your Fiction. I will need new tricks since I am working on two wips and I know that revision looms. I have done the break-it-into-smaller-bites editing. I do that looking for the watch-words that creep into the writing and repetitions, something else I need to watch for. Great advice.

    1. We'll you're definitely on the right track! :) Thanks so much for reading a review copy, D.G.


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

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