Every free minute of these last two weeks have been filled with attempts to edit and flesh out my fantasy manuscript. Needless to say I’ve paid much more attention to what is working and what has wasted my time. And when time is hard to come by, making efficient use of it is crucial. Here are five no brainer tips for improving your editing time:
- Editing with any type of social media running. I’ll admit, Twitter is my new way of learning all sorts of crazy fun things and network with other writers. However, when a new tweet comes in every minute or so it’s darn near impossible to keep focus on the job at hand. The same goes for email notifiers, cell phones, and the like. Turn them off when possible!
- Becoming a grammar Nazi early in the game. While editing for clarity and flow, don’t stop to check if your commas and dialogue punctuation are correct. Chances are things might change a few more times before you are ready to line edit.
- Skipping difficult sections to return to later. While allowing time to meditate on crucial elements of a novel is important, these nasty little bits will have to be faced in the end. If you can’t get past a difficult section at least do yourself the favor of writing down the issue and where it falls in the story; then move on to the next section and keep going.
- Trying to do it all digitally. With all the programs, gadgets, and gizmos out there it is possible to write and edit a book without printing a single page. I don’t recommend it. Scrolling back and forth to compare ideas, making notes, and trying to find specific scenes takes ages longer on a computer than printing out a copy and writing on it everything you wish to change. That, and actually holding your book is very empowering.
- Taking everyone else’s advice but your own. Perhaps you are now in the critiquing phase and have collected a mountain of ideas from your readers. Before you start making major changes to anything, think through each piece of advice and decide if it is something that will work for your story. If not, ignore it. It is your story and you still have final say of what stays and what goes.
Just like snowflakes, all writers work differently. No advice is one size fits all.
Are there any tips or tricks that you find helpful when editing or revising your work? Let us know in the comments!