Thank you, Raimey Gallant for organizing the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop.
This is a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.
To continue hopping through other great blogs in the monthly #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join, just hop on over to Ramey Gallant!
In today’s publishing environment, it’s up to an author to ensure all the major steps of revision/self-editing have been completed.
After you’ve written your first draft, you’ll need to work your way through the revision process. So what are the different steps in self-editing fiction?
Here is our take on it. After you write your story, the first step is a story edit,followed by your rewrites. Then you’ll do a copyedit and finally a proofread. Story editing, copyediting, and proofreading combined make up the revision process.
Following this order will save you time on editing. If you copyedit or proofread too early, you may have to repeat this work. Of course, you can fix obvious errors when you see them, but don’t spend time on copyediting until you’ve finished a comprehensive rewrite.
Create your story and complete your first draft. Easier said than done 🙂
That’s why there has been so much written about how-to-write fiction! Whether you’re a plotter or a panster, it’s up to you to decide how to best write your story.
Story Edit & Rewrite
You’ve completed a draft and may have been told to put your work in a drawer for a few weeks and then come back and reread it with fresh eyes. This never worked for me. Even if I ignored my draft for weeks, I needed a structured process to evaluate and rewrite my manuscript. I realized I was doing my own story edit.
A story edit focuses on the big-picture of the novel. You’ll evaluate:
- Characters (Characters and novel structure)
- Plot (Start your story edit with a focus on plot)
- Settings (Setting and novel structure)
- Story flow and pacing (Scene openings and scene endings)
You’ll check for consistency and clarity, and you’ll end up rewriting scenes in your manuscript to improve content and structure. This is the most time-consuming step of self-editing, however, your effort spent on evaluating and rewriting your draft will ensure your story makes sense and is ready to polish and share.
So no surprise…this is where Fictionary will come to the rescue!
Now you’re getting into the details of each sentence with a focus on style. It’s time to check for:
- Language errors including punctuation, grammar, and spelling
- Run-on sentences (you may want these in dialogue or thought — just make sure you do this on purpose)
- Repeated information or words
- Too much description
- Unclear or confusing passages
- Boring or passive language
- Showing versus telling
- Too many adverbs
- Sentence length variation
- Consistent spelling (For example: US versus Canadian)
- Consistent hyphenation, fonts, and capitalization
Both ProWritingAid and Grammarly are great online tools for copyediting and proofreading. I use both, ‘cause I like them both.
At this phase, you shouldn’t be finding too many errors. This is the final check before publishing your manuscript. You’ll notice you’re not changing your story or your style. Here you’ll check for final spelling or grammar mistakes, then ask yourself:
- Are all chapter headings formatted the same?
- Are any pages or headings omitted?
- Is the page numbering consistent?
- Are the headers and footers formatted the same?
- Are italics consistently used?
- Are paragraph indents formatted the same?
- Are there any double or triple spaces between words?
- Are there any double spaces after a period?
- Are times formatted the same — am, a.m. AM?
- Is the spacing between ellipses consistent (… and not . . . )?
How Will Fictionary Help You Story Edit
Fictionary is a new interactive web app for self-editing fiction that helps writers turn a first draft into a story readers love.
Developed by writers to help fellow writers, Fictionary is the first online tool for editing the story, not just the words. Writers are guided through a scene-by-scene evaluation of their manuscript by analyzing key story elements for characters, plot, and settings.
With interactive reports and writing advice for each element, writers can visualize their story and see where and how to improve their writing. With automated progress tracking, writers save time on self-editing and can be confident that their work is ready to share.
How Fictionary Works: A writer imports a manuscript. Within seconds, Fictionary automatically creates a character list, links characters to scenes, plots word count per scene, and draws a story arc.
The writer then inputs key story elements for each scene, evaluates and edits the manuscript based on output from Fictionary, and then exports the updated manuscript. The output from Fictionary is dependent on the writer’s input and is specific to each manuscript.
Why not check out our free 10-day trial?