Wow, you've written an entire manuscript some 70K words. You've cried and stressed during the macro edit as you had to cut and mesh scenes and fill in those plot holes. Now you're near the finish line, and you've come to line-editing or micro-editing. You have to get every little sentence perfect. If you're there right now, I am too. XD And, well, it's intimidating to an extent so here are some tips I have to help you with this daunting task.
First of all, you have to prepare your editor eyes. You should be doing this all the time by learning as much about the craft of writing as possible. There are so many free resources out there if you don't have the coin to invest in a writing craft book just yet, but I suggest getting your hands on some in the future. Reading blogs has helped me like crazy. There are so many good ones like Go Teen Writers. You can't edit if you don't know what to look for! And grammar and typos are just a small portion of editing.
Now you may have already done this. That's good so here are six tips for line-editing!
1.) Read Books and Analyze the Writing - If you love to write, you probably love to read so as you read study how that author describes or how long the sentences are or paragraphs or just every little detail. Did you like it? Did it bring you deeper into the story world? Do you think that author could've given you a clearer picture?
2.) Critique Other People - Get involved in a critique group on Facebook, forums, a writer's society, or just with a group of writer friends. I have gotten drastically better at editing from editing other people. Mistakes start popping out, and it makes it so much easier to find them in your own writing. I highly recommend this.
You've done some preparing now let's get to it! WARNING: Editing is time consuming. If it's going too fast, you're probably missing something, so one thing about editing is to be patient and slow and the biggest skeptic there ever was lol. If a sentence sounds like it could be misunderstood or cheesy then it probably is.
3.) Read Your Work In Your Head Slowly - Read at a snail's pace and question every line. Is it too long? Is the mood for the scene I'm wanting being portrayed? Could I describe that better? Would the character really say that or should I cut the line all together? Oh look! A typo!
4.) Read Your Work Out Loud - Call me crazy, but I can't stress this enough. I read over each page of my manuscript in my head and then out loud and when I read out loud I find stuff that I didn't catch reading in my head! I especially recommend reading your dialogue out loud.
You went through the whole manuscript on your own and maybe you asked your friend or your family to help you with that one line you stared at for a half hour (Yes, I've been there, too.). Now it's time to bring in the Calvary.
5.) Have Someone Else Read Your Work Out Loud - Find a devoted friend or family member that'll do this, because it helps immensely. You find things you wouldn't have before this way either by reading along silently or just listening.
6.) Have People Critique You - Have some people read over your manuscript or just parts of it even. Make sure they're not just closed friends who can sometimes be biased, but people you don't know as well. It can either be someone you know or someone in a writers group.
I hope these tips help you in your editing process! Happy writing and may the muse be ever your favor! ;)
Do you have any questions about editing? Do you use any of these methods or do you have one I haven't mentioned?
You may also like:
Twelve Rookie Writer Mistakes and How to Mend Them
Nine Ways to Meet Writer Friends: A Guest Post by Lauren Claire
A Book Review of Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft Into A Published Novel
Write What You Know ... And What You Don't Know
Tone Down But Don't Water Down