The workshop I gave was titled Sex and the Self-Editing Author. Now, I've been tagged as using a bait-and-switch technique to get people in the workshop door, but honestly, I have no clue what anyone could mean by that. Do you?
All right. Admittedly, the workshop was more about self-editing than sex. Your curiosity is piqued, however, correct? Anyway, I thought some of you might be interested in the handout so I've posted it for your here.
Whether you are writing and polishing your book for first time submission, or for your editor, self-editing is a necessary evil. Here are five sexy steps to get it right.
1) Get Fresh (lay down fresh ideas)
- First thoughts have incredible energy
- Allow yourself to write junk
- Even bad writing can be edited – just get your ideas down
- Figure out your style
- Use devices – from spiral notebooks to AlphaSmarts
2) Teases and Tickles (acknowledge your inner editor)
- Nagging sentence?
- Niggling phrase?
- Paragraph that just doesn’t work?
- Passage that isn’t quite right?
- Chapter that lags?
- Middle that sags?
- Fix them!
3) Awesome Twosome or Critique a Trois? (seek other opinions)
- Critique partner or groups
- Beta reader(s) -- get one, or two, or three?
- Define or describe the feedback you want – Content? Grammar? Red flags? Formatting? Copyedits?
- Word of Caution: Remember, it’s your story
- Another word of Caution: Never let anyone edit out your voice.
4) Get Down and Dirty (masterful self-editing)
- Pesky Passive vs. Dominate Active Voice (do a search, ex. “had”, “to be”, “ing” words, etc)
- Those lovely adverbs (do a search, ex. “ly”)
- Echoes and repetitive words/phrases (do a search, overused words, ex. “just” “slid” “damn” “that”)
- Learn your publisher’s “house style”
- Ebooks – formatting might be part of your editorial process. Again, know “house style”
- Maddie’s Final Checklist:
- Do searches for all common mistakes.
- Read final manuscript through electronically, make any changes.
- Print manuscript out and do hard copy edits. Key in changes.
- Read manuscript OUT LOUD either hard copy or on the screen. Make changes.
5) Leggo Your Ego – Or, honey it wasn’t THAT great (listen to your editor).
- Trust your editor’s instincts.
- At the same time, trust your own.
- Know what battles to fight.
- Choose your battles wisely.