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The Writing Community's Editing Advice

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Hey everyone! Remember me? Welcome back to Chronicles & Coffee's blog.

I have been off on my blog consistency, so hopefully you have been tuning into the podcast as well as my Instagram and Twitter!

Today's post is another collaborative one based on all you amazing writers and authors! I recently asked what your best writing advice regarding edits on a novel or any piece of writing was, and following is all that catapulted into one cohesive hotspot for you. As writers, we all take familiar advice and use it to our own agree, so no matter how similar the advice may be, it is always unique on how we each apply it. That's the magical part about writing, the isolation we may feel amidst writing but the community it truly derives from.

1. Backwards Editing

This was a common piece of advice, but told in different ways. Backwards editing is in the name, you edit the story or article (or any piece of writing) back to front. Start from the last chapter or scene... or from the last page. The biggest highlight to this method is that although you are reading something that you have already seen before, you see it in a completely new dynamic.

2. Read It Again & Again & Again

In this advice, which is so practical and noteworthy, we also got a mention about what to look out for during each reread. The first reread looks for plot consistency, the second for style and clarity of reading, and the third for grammar. Basically, the way editing processes go; developmental edits, copy editing, line edits, and proof editing!

3. Read It Out Loud

This was another common piece of advice. To read it out loud. You can do this by reading it to yourself, or as a lot of writers mentioned, using the Word text to speech or free text to speech apps. This can make it accessible to hear the novel like an audiobook and listen for clarity or hiccups in the writing prose and pace.

4. Being Honest With Yourself

This is a big one. Be honest with yourself. Sit back and reward yourself for the accomplishments of writing a book and all the mental capacity and sacrifice in between. But then get serious. Let the book sit and come back to it with an editor eye, not the writer eye. Be honest about what works in the story, what could work but just does not yet, and what should be kept. You may add new scenes or chapters, remove some altogether, change a character's position in the story, add a subplot... the changes are infinite. Don't tie yourself down to that first draft!

*My first to third draft jumped up 30k words! I added a new subplot, changed the antagonist and villain in the story, and added a whole new character for the dynamic of my main character.*

5. Try Different Mediums

Branching off of number three, try different mediums. This includes that step which is to read it out loud. The medium of audio is super important, as we all talk to ourselves in our head and have a voice whether we outwardly speak or not. But there are other mediums to try too. This includes printing the draft or downloading it to an e-reader.

*Personally, I print all of my drafts. I feel it truly adds a new dynamic to the story and helps me see it more like a reader.*

6. Change The Font

Another way to make the story look fresh without going through the trouble of downloading it anywhere or printing it is to change the font. Select the whole document and choose a font that is commonly used in books of your genre. Didn't know that certain fonts are more common in romance or fantasy? It is a really great tool to see your novel, even on Word or Google Docs, as a novel that it is!

7. Pay Someone To Do It

Not everyone trusts themselves to be honest in their own writing. Not everyone wants to edit. Some people don't have the time. Some people don't fully know how to. It is a constant learning effort, but even so, if you do not want to edit, hire someone! There are great resources such as Reedsy and Fiverr to hire a freelance editor to do the job for you. I see and also recommend going through a reread and self editing, but sometimes it is overwhelming. The key is to just tell yourself to read it through and not outwardly search for errors. Trust me, you will naturally nitpick your own work.

I hope these tips were useful and helpful to you! A lot of them are pretty obvious to us writers and authors, but it is super comforting to see others in the community recommend the similar pieces of advice. I hope you gained something from today's post! Check out the link to the tweet thread here:

Talk to you soon!



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