So, you’re writing a book? (Well, first and foremost, congrats!)
Now that you’re done with your rough draft, now is the time to edit. However, if you want to self-edit your book, you can.
In this article, we’ll show you how to self-edit your book in 8 steps. Check it out!
1. Let Your Manuscript Rest
“It’s important to set your manuscript aside for a few days or more so that you can have a fresh set of eyes to look through it with,” says Jasmine Hernandez, a book writer at EliteAsignmentHelp and Revieweal. “This is to help you take a break on writing until you’re ready to pick it up again.”
2. Look At The Bigger Picture
Keep in mind: the “big picture” goes beyond the grammatical and mechanical errors. In other words, save the grammatical and mechanical errors for last. This phase is also known as the “development editing.”
The next three sections will dive deeper into which parts of the story you’ll need to pay attention to plot, characters, and conflict/themes.
3. Look At Plot
The plot shows how various events connect to create a story. To see your plot clearly, you may want to try the common plot formula: the three-act structure (beginning, middle, and end). While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to fixing plot issues, it’s still imperative that you delve into your plot.
4. Look At Characters
Next, keep in mind the types of characters that are common in stories:
Protagonist (the main character, and or “hero” of the story
Antagonist (the “bad” guy, and or force standing in the way of the protagonist)
You’ll need to create a character arc for each character. To do this:
What motivates a character?
What kind of strengths or weaknesses does a character have?
How do your secondary characters serve the story?
Are your character arcs clear and compelling?
5. Analyze The Conflict And Themes
You can then determine what the conflict(s) are, along with possible themes. Remember: the conflict will always reflect the main themes of the story.
Keep in mind the following:
Do your intended themes blend well with the conflict?
Is the central conflict important enough for readers to care about?
Is the main conflict resolved when the story ends?
How does the conflict escalate gradually throughout the book?
6. Schedule Your Editing
So, now that you have some good ideas on what needs to be improved in your book, you can schedule when to revise and edit certain parts of your book, so that you’re not forcing yourself to go over the entire manuscript.
Plus, keep a note of the tasks that you’ve done already, and the ones that you still need to work on. The fun part is how to choose to keep track of your progress. Whether you use sticky notes, a notebook, spreadsheets, etc. is up to you. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
7. Edit With Clarity And Concision In Mind
“Focusing on clarity and concision is key,” says Arthur Williams, an expert at OXEssays and Bestbritshessays. “Getting rid of the extra stuff is important in your editing process, because things like filler words, doubled words, and redundant modifiers can take a toll on your manuscript.”
Let’s dive deeper:
Filler words or phrases are unnecessary when the story is supposed to be showing, not telling.
Doubled words are words that mean the same thing, but they’re used together anyways (for example, “dark abyss”). In that case, determine which of the two is the best option. (So, “dark” is the abstract option, unless you want a more concrete word like “abyss.”)
Redundant modifiers are descriptive words that are already obvious in the word that they’re describing. Going back to the example of “dark abyss,” most readers would already know that an abyss is “dark” in appearance. So, the word “dark” would be deleted.
8. Get Feedback
Finally, it’s okay to get feedback from other people – peers, professors, professional editors, etc. You can even join a writing group that would be more than happy to share their thoughts with you.
We hope that these 8 steps help you in your writing endeavors. As you keep this article in mind, you’ll soon see that self-editing isn’t as hard and frustrating as one might’ve suspected.
Remember: You know your book more than anyone else. Take your time with it. Edit. Edit again. And keep editing, until you’re comfortable publishing it.
Lauren Groff is a writer at Thesis Writing Service and Big Assignments. She is also a contributing writer at Studydemic. As a content writer, she writes articles about book publishing, bookstores, and eBooks.