Story Editing. Copyediting. Proofreading. What in the world are they?

Nano Blog and Social Media Hop2Thank 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 proofreadStory 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.


Write

Image Source Fictionary

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:

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!


Copyedit

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
  • Clichés
  • 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.


Proofread

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?

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How to Blog Hop

Imajin Books asked me to host a blog hop as part of publishing DESCENT.  Of course I said yes. So now I have to figure out how to do this.

First, I needed a goal for the blog hop. I’m currently blogging about my publishing experience, and every day I discover there is more to learn. A priority for me is learning more about marketing a book, and this is how I came up with my goal.

Blog Hop Goal

To  improve my knowledge of marketing a book.

To share that knowledge with other writers.

Blog Hop Theme:

Based on the goal, I’m going to ask other bloggers to answer one simple question.

What is the most important book-marketing  tip you can give other writers who are about to publish a novel or who have recently published a novel?

Who am you going to ask?

The importance of building a network rises to the top of the to-do pile once a again. Long before you publish, you need to have a network of people who can participate in your launch and people who you can help in return. As you can see, I’m using this blog to encourage participation. I will also contact other authors personally via LinkedIn, Facebook, and email.

Why would other bloggers join the blog hop?

As with most things, it’s best to give something to people who participate. The participating bloggers should answer the marketing question at the top of their blog.  The blogger can follow the answer with a promotion of their novel in whatever style they feel is appropriate. The blog hop is about marketing after all.. Not published yet? How about promoting your upcoming novel or your blog?

Now to the technology behind a blog hop or blog party.

Linky Things:

I use WordPress (obviously) so I’ll use a tool recommended for WP. You may need something else. LinkyTools and InLinkz are two options. InLinkz has a good blog post on How to Throw A Successful Blog Party, so I won’t go into details on that topic, but I do have to decide if I should do both a blog hop and a blog party. See HandMadeTechnology for a description of how blog hops and blog parties differ.

I’m not sure yet which one I’ll go with. Any advice?

Test blog: One tip on the InLinkz site is to create a test blog site. I plan to use this, so I can practice, make a mess and get it right before I post to this site. I understand Linky Things don’t go live until the post is published, hence the test site.

If you’re interested in joining this blog hop, I plan to run it sometime in July when DESCENT is published.  Just comment below and let me know. Or access my Contact Information  and send me a private message.

Let me stress, I am new to this blog hop experience, so please share any advice you have on how to host a successful blog hop.

If you haven’t read my blog before, I’ve signed on with Imajin Books and will blog about my publishing adventure. I’ll share what I learn and hope it helps someone out there get their novel published.

Thanks for reading…

The Writing Process Blog Hop

Calgarian Garry Ryan, author of the Detective Lane mystery series and the Blackbirds Trilogy, asked me to be part of the blog hop. Of course I said yes to Garry. You may have heard of the Crime Writers of Canada. When Garry was the president, I was lucky enough to have him as my mentor as part of the CWC mentorship program. Garry worked by my on my Manuscript, Burnt, which has since been nominated for the Debut Dagger by the Crime Writers Association in the UK. How could I not be excited to follow Garry in the blog hop?

This is your chance to get a looking inside a writer’s  mind, or in this case many minds if you follow the blog hop.

I have tagged two author friends to take part in the blog hop. The bio’s are listed below. Please check out their blogs too 🙂

Now to the reason for the blog hop:

What Am I Working On?

I read somewhere that life as a writer means having homework for the rest of your life. There is aways something to work on, whether it is writing, researching, social networking, learning, editing or proofreading. Then there is the query letter, blurb or synopsis to be written. Now add in my blog. All are part of being a writer and all can be very engaging tasks.

On the writing scene, I currently drafting the fourth novel in the Stone Mountain mystery series. The series takes place in a fictitious ski resort located in the depth of the Purcell Mountain Range in British Columbia, Canada.  The protagonist, Kalin Thompson, is the director of security and human resources at the resort in continually finds herself torn between running investigations and her friends who live in the small community. She can’t look for suspects without looking at one of her friends.

For editing, I am working on Look the Other Way. The novel takes place in the Bahamas and is a spin off from the Stone Mountain mystery series.

How Does My Work Differ From Others in It’s Genre?

Drugs and the drug industry gets a lot of focus in the BC press. i try to stay away from the topic. There are many great books by BC novelists that delve into this area. I’ve chosen other crimes, typically the type committed by an every day individual who has been pushed beyond their limits. I try to make wilderness living and wildlife interaction a character within my books.

Why Do I Write What I Do?

One night, while I was living in Germany, I tried to go to bed early. A company driver was to pick me up at 4 a.m. to take me to the airport. I was nervous about a presentation I was to make in London, England and wanted a good night sleep. Here’s where a small decision I made changed my future path. I picked up a novel, Moonlight Becomes You, by Marry Higgins Clark. It starts out with a woman trapped in a coffin. Now how could I put that down before finding out how she got out of the coffin. I read through the night until my car arrived. Exhausted, but excited, I knew I wanted to write something that would keep a person from going to sleep, even when they knew they needed to be their best for the coming day.

I write about the Purcell Mountain range because it’s a magical place. I write about human resources and security at a ski resort because I have experience in the field. My job at a ski resort was the best job of my life and writing about the industry is a way for me to keep it with me.

How Does My Writing Process Work?

Variety. That’s the key for me. Morning’s are usually better for me if I want to get more words on the page. By the end of the day, I’m better at researching or working on my online platform. I like to write without interruption, as I’m sure most of us do, but I’m pretty good a tuning out the world around me if I can’t find a quiet place. Mostly I write on a computer, but sometimes a pen a paper get my creativity moving.

To create a first draft, I decide on a crime and start writing. I develop my characters as I go. By the end of the first draft, I usually know who committed the crime, but that might change in a later draft. Once the draft is done, I create a spreadsheet and start a detailed analysis of each scene. This is where I look for the empty stage, errors in timing, too much or too little of something and so on. Once I’ve written several, okay many, drafts, I send the manuscript to my favourite readers. At this stage I ask for them for notes on when they think they know who committed the crime, if they skim any sections, if something is unclear, and if they feel connected to the characters. i don’t ask for proofreading at this stage. That comes later before I’m about to submit to my agent.

As soon as I submit to my agent, I start on my next novel. The writing business is slow, and this is a good time to focus on new work and not agonize about the words I’ve sent out.

 

Fellow author friends are:

Charlotte Morganti will post on July 28th:

Charlotte Morganti has been a burger flipper, beer slinger, lawyer, and seasonal chef de tourtière. And, always, a stringer-together-of-words. Her first novel, The Snow Job, was a finalist for Crime Writers of Canada’s Unhanged Arthur award in 2014 for the best unpublished crime novel. You can find out more about Charlotte’s fiction at www.charlottemorganti.com.

Brenda Chapman will post on August 11th.

Brenda Chapman began her writing career with the Jennifer Bannon mysteries for young adults. More recently, she writes the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series – Cold Mourning was released from Dundurn in 2014 and Butterfly Kills will be on the shelves in early 2015. Brenda also writes the Anna Sweet mystery novellas for Grass Roots Press, with My Sister’s Keeper shortlisted for a 2014 Arthur Ellis Award. Brenda is a former teacher and currently works as a senior communciations advisor in Ottawa.
Brenda’s blog link:  http://brendachapman.blogspot.ca/

Thanks for reading . . .