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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Guest Posts: Are they valuable?

Guest blogging can be a great way to expand your online network, meet new friends, and share your work with others, but it’s hard work if you want to do it right. I believe anyone who offers me a spot on their blog deserves my full attention, meaning they get a unique blog, my comments during the day to interact with their readers, and shares on my social network, both for my guest post and for other guest posts they host.

Below is an awesome group of sites where I’ll be guest blogging. I’d like to grow this list and am looking for people to  host me on their blog.

If you’re interested, please contact me via my contact information page. I’d love to hear from you and be part of your network.

What I offer:

  • A unique blog for every site that I am a guest on
  • My best effort at driving traffic to the blog via my social network
  • Interaction with the readers of the blogs I guest post on

What I hope to get:

  • New readers
  • Exposure for my work
  • New connections with others online
  • Writing about a topic I love

Here is my current guest blogging schedule:

2015

September 25th Interview with Awethors

October 2, Mysteristas

October 6, Donna Galanti

October 18, Debra Purdy Kong

October 20, Luke Murphy

October 22, Catherine Astolfo

October 25, Chris The Story Reading Ape – This  is BLAZE release day.

October 29, Melodie Campbell

November 2, Judith Barrow

December 18, Judy Penz Sheluk

2016

January 19, James M. Jackson

If you haven’t read DESCENT yet, now is your chance before BLAZE comes out. Find it at: myBook.to/Descent, and of course, BLAZE is available for pre-order in eBook format. Trade paperback is coming soon.

Thanks for reading…

My Two Cents Worth (Before Inflation)

Reblogged from http://blog.jamesmjackson.com Author of the Seamus McCree Mystery Series.

***

Please welcome Kristina Stanley, a Canadian author who has the screenshot to prove that her novel Descsent had the number one ranking on Amazon’s Canada list of “Hot New Releases of Women Sleuth Mysteries.” (In second place was Sue Grafton’s !) She describes herself as happy, hard-working, loyal, athletic, and an animal-lover. The five words she uses to describe her writing are adventurous, action-oriented, mystery, wilderness, and multi point of view. Here are her answers to the eight questions she chose…

Click here to read more:

Top Ten Reasons to Blog . . .

If you are an Author, published or unpublished, here are 10 reasons to create a blog and stick with it.

  1. Build an audience for when you’re ready to sell your novel (or continue to sell an already published one).
  2. Practice writing.
  3. Practice proofreading.
  4. Develop your voice.
  5. Learn about social media.
  6. Share your knowledge with others.
  7. Connect with others world wide who have similar interests to you.
  8. Promote the work of authors whose work you admire.
  9. Get motivated to write: any kind of positive feedback encourages me to keep trying.
  10. Prove to a publisher that you can build and maintain a platform.

Why to you blog?

What motivates you to comment on other blogs?

Thanks for reading . . .

How to Get a Free Manuscript Critique

The value of blogging hits home. I’ve been following Joan Edwards for a while now and here’s what happened.

Joan posted an offer of a free manuscript review just for commenting on her blog. So I commented and I won.

I sent the first 1000 pages (oops – I meant words)  of my novel Avalanche to Joan. Joan assured me complete privacy and got straight to work.

What Joan did:

  • She sent me a covering letter describing her overall strategy and what her highlighting meant .
  • She gave me high level comments before reviewing each line in detail.
  • The critique included story line, grammar and punctuation comments.

It’s exciting to receive professional feedback that will help me improve the quality of my story. She included areas for improvement and highlighted sentences she thought were good. Now I have to get to work and make this better. It’s amazing what a second pair of eyes can do for a manuscript. I wish I could have Joan review my entire manuscript. Thanks Joan. You are a star!

If I didn’t blog, I never would have had this opportunity. This comes right back to Authors Helping Authors.

Thanks for reading . . .

Can You Proofread to Perfection?

And should you try?

If you’re  submitting your manuscript to your agent, publisher, editor, or beta readers, absolutely. If you’re interested in the process  I use for this, click here.

But what if you’re proofreading your blog before posting?

Maybe you could give yourself a break. I think the occasional typo is okay. Usually a kind reader will point out an error, sometimes even via a private email. The beauty of the blog versus a novel: it’s easy to update after publication.

I usually thank the person who pointed out my error, update the blog immediately, and move on.

Four steps to get close to perfection:

  1. Read once before posting draft.
  2. Read a preview version. Somehow seeing the blog in the format it will be posted helps me see it differently, and I usually pick up a typo or two.
  3. Read the blog out loud or have the computer read it to me. Then I can hear the error if my eye refused to see it.
  4. If I have the time, I let some time pass and read the blog again before I hit the publish button.

Just remember, we all makes mistakes and a typo isn’t one to lose sleep over.

Do you have any tricks for quickly eliminating typos?

Thanks for reading . . .