Editing my first book was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done mentally for a long while. After rearranging the content of the book three or four times I was sick of the sight of it!
‘Know your book inside and out before approaching anyone with it!’
How can you not know it inside and out when you have read the bloody thing five times! Frustration started to creep in and I still needed to tackle the grammar and punctuation. Arguments with the proofing tool could go on for hours! Never mind saving expletives for dramatic effect. I was aiming them all directly at my stilted reflection in the laptop.
‘SPLIT INFINITIVE!’ it would shout at me.
‘Oh piss off’ I would retort, my fingers adjusting the sentence.
‘Bugger, seriously wordiness? I’m going to need words if this is going to be a novel’
In the end I gave up fighting, I handed it to an editor. I felt much better. Finally my arguments with my beloved book could stop. I had found resolution.
Last week at writing group when I was reading aloud I realised I was self editing. Tightening it up here and there. I haven’t done this before or if I have, I haven’t been aware. So last night with a green highlighter I went through a chapter or two. Much to my delight and not frustration I managed to edit away and marvel at this new skill I have found. I could use better descriptive narrative and lose the ifs, buts, ands and maybe’s.
Book two is a different story, the proofing tool is already on. I completely ignore it while the words are flowing. Then at the end of the chapter I go back and now can easily answer its prompts. I immediately recognise the mistakes. It’s taken over 100,000 words to get to this point but I’m glad I’m here.
Without these marvellous mistakes we would never learn and we would never grow! Has anyone got any other editing tips?
My book Sharks & Lovers is available to download here: