Tips on editing
We’ll let you in on a secret. Not even the best and most well-known writers can write a book and have it be perfect the very first time. as a writer, you will eventually have to edit your work and from there, you will learn one simple truth…it is much easier to edit someone’s else work than it is to edit your own. Because we know how the book is supposed flow, our mind interpret the words like there supposed to be read while overlooking all the little typos along the way. We, at Luminous Expressions, have often fell victim to the pitfalls of self-editing and decdied to create a list we hope will aid you in your proofreading. (I made five typos in the paragraph above…did you spot them?)
Reading out loud.
You might feel silly but this is one of the most effective ways to catch little mistakes. By involving your mouth, your brain is not only focused on how the words look but how they sound as well. Anything your mouth stumbles over or anything you have to reread more than once is probably something you want to change.
Don’t edit directly after you finished writing.
Whether it’s a chapter, article, or book, its tough proofreading directly after writing it down. Your mind is still too familiar with the content and tend to overlook mistakes. We recommend you take 24 hours to clear your head before trying any proofreading.
Try a change in format.
Printing out a copy will allow you to catch more mistakes. Sometimes it’s simply not feasible to print out 300 pages for editing and if that’s the case, try changing the font or proofreading your book in “preview mode.”
A different location can help.
Sometimes proofreading in a different room can do wonders. Wherever, you proofread, make sure to minimize or completely eliminate distractions. It’s hard to edit with the TV on as your subconscious keep on trying to understand the content but a lot of writers need music to type or edit. Find what works best for you and go for it.
Proofread in several short blocks of time.
You might get away with editing an article in one go, but not a book. You can’t sit and edit for long periods of time without getting tired. Once you’re tired, you may begin unintentionally speeding up to finish and your editing will suffer for it. If you don’t have a deadline, take a breather and do something else before giving it another go. Try reading another book between edits. It helps clear the mind of what you expect to read, allowing you to read what’s really on a page.
Do a spell-check.
We are constantly amazed at how many people skip this little step. Unless you’re writing by hand, there’s no excuse not to use the free spell-check on your computer. You’ll be surprised at how many mistakes it will catch.
Have a friend or family member read it.
A fresh pair of eyes can spot out mistakes and tell you when something doesn’t make sense, but this tip comes with stipulations. You must impress upon your friend to be honest…them telling you how incredible your book is might be a boost to the self-esteem, but it won’t help you with editing. At the same time, you must be open to critique…nothing angers an author faster than thinking his work is being attacked. If you can follow those rules, then this is a powerful and much-needed tip to follow.
Don’t forget to edit for content.
I know you’re trying to catch all those little grammar mistakes, but don’t forget that you’re editing a story and you want that story to be interesting and make sense. Does something you say in chapter three still make sense in chapter eight? Have you given enough details so that your reader can clearly visualize your locations and characters? A grammatically correct book still needs to be interesting if you want it to attract readers.
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as over-editing.
Even the most thrilling of books can become boring if you read it over a dozen times and as an author, you probably have read your book more than that. If you edit too much, your words can start to sound dry, the characters predictable, and the content redundant or unbearable. You might actually learn to hate your book. If that happens, take a break immediately! If you have the time, take a few days away from proofreading to recharge your batteries and start anew.
If all else fail, call in the professionals.
There are a few professional editing companies and below, we have listed our favorites. Now, these companies do charge for their services and depending on your word count, it can become pricey but they usually do a superb job proofreading and improving your book overall. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it or not. Our favorite and most trusted editorial service is Edit911
Wishing you success in your editing endeavors,