Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Writer's Wednesday:Editing and Critiquing is Another Facet of Writing
Editing and critiquing is another facet of writing. It's about making your manuscript the best it can be, before submitting it to agents and editors. Heck, even before self-publishing it. Many believed they can write a book and that is it. But in reality, I've read books by those who believe they have written the great novel ever and find mistakes in misspelled words, the way the sentenced is structured, and even a badly done storyline.
So if you want your novel or novella to be wanted by readers, then you need to go over the manuscript a few times, then after that, find a critique group to join or a good critique partner. Those are worth their weight in gold. They're not family members and won't tell you that your book is the best they ever read, on par with the classics. They won't slam your work down, but they will point out inconsistencies in how your storyline is arranged and all the needless words tat can be eliminated. Suddenly your 100,000 word count book is weeded down to 80,000 words. You can always saved for the parts not used for another WIP.
Think about it. If you want to submit to a publisher, you want it to be a super read. The editor--even if the publisher accepts your work--will make suggestions in paring down the word count and will show you where the story flow can be made better. If you can’t take a group of published and non-published writers telling you what might be wrong with your manuscript, then how will you handled an editor's editing process or even rejections from publishers? And let's be honest, you want your baby to be well-dressed, before it presents itself to the world. Think of it like applying for a job--you need for your book to be ready for that interview.
So now that your manuscript is finished, put it away for a couple of weeks. Return to it with fresh eyes and be critical about it. Bring out that red pen. Read each line out loud, so you can see if you stumble over anything. Keep a dictionary nearby so when a word looks suspiciously wrong to you, you can look it up. Yes, there's spellchecker, but it doesn’t always seem to pick out every misspelled word. Triple edit. Then ask a critique partner or group to look it over. You don't have to take every suggestion they may make, but you may find when they all notice something off, that might be the time to look it over yourself. Ten times out of ten, if it smells like rotting cheese, it is rotting cheese.
Now, see, that wasn't so hard. Over time, you'll learn to be tougher on your own work. Best of all, when you have readers and reviewers say it's one of the best books they read, you feel proud that your "baby" is worth all that hard work.