Okay, so you’ve just finished your 80,000 word manuscript and, exhausted, you treat yourself to a drink and a movie. You’ve done it and now you’r basking in your glories. The sun is shining, and life couldn’t be better. But then a thought begins to nag in the back of your mind: Doesn’t this thing need editing?
Yes! It does. And, indeed, manuscript editing can be even harder than the actual writing itself. If you don’t come out the other side emotionally scarred, you’ve done well. But before the end comes, there’s a lot of work to be put in. You can hire an editor or take a look at our top 10 tips on manuscript editing.
#1 Take A Break
Before you make the transition from writer to editor, it’s imperative that you first take a break. This will give you a chance to recharge your batteries and return with a fresh mind. Editing is hard work and requires energy and renewed enthusiasm.
#2 Read It Through
After your break, and before you really begin editing, read through your entire manuscript, making notes on the major things that need changing. Leave out the minor issues.
#3 Make Sure Your Writing Style Is Consistent
Each manuscript has a certain tone and style, but if you’re a new writer and have been working on your manuscript for about 2 years or so, it’s possible that your writing style has changed throughout the manuscript. A manuscript editor needs to ensure that the style is consistent.
#4 Expand Your Vocabulary
If your vocabulary is limited, you might find that you’ve repeated yourself throughout your manuscript. For example, if you have a character who is an artist, don’t just refer to them as an artist. Interchange the word with painter, creator, master, designer.
#5 Lose Italics
Italics are great in copywriting because the writer is trying to sell something to an audience, and italics work really well at emphasising words. Manuscript editing, though, means removing too many italics. They just look irksome.
#6 Work On Your Plots
A manuscript editor knows that one of the major flaws of any manuscript editing is unresolved plots and subplots. When you read through your work , it can be easy to spot plot holes and gaps in logic that you didn’t spot whilst you were writing the piece.
#7 Do The Names Fit?
When you wrote your manuscript, Gerry might have sounded like a fitting name for the main character. But does it still fit?
#8 Shape Your Characters
Manuscript editing gives you a great chance to iron out any flaws your characters have. Remember, if a character does something ‘out of character’ it will be noticeable to the reader, but it may be something you didn’t spot when writing your book.
#9 Read Through Again
When you’ve edited your manuscript, you’re nearly there – but not quite! You need to read through the whole piece again to make sure everything is absolutely tip top.
#10 If In Doubt, Use An Online Manuscript Editing Service
If you decide that you’re no manuscript editor, or if you simply don’t have enough time, you can always pay for the privilege of using an online manuscript editing service who will do the job for you. As Deanna Hock points out in her blog, though, you will need to be able to understand the changes they have made.