When I do author talks in schools, I always spend a chunk of time talking about editing. I know it’s a popular topic for the teachers as it’s something they can refer back to in subsequent lessons (“Remember how Lexi talked about the importance of editing your work?”). It’s also useful for them to be able to discuss it with the pupil who is absolutely adamant that their first draft is flawless, perfect in every way, how long I spend on the editing phase before publication.
I usually start by asking them to define editing. Most of the pupils leap straight to the grammar, spelling, and punctuation stage, which sets the scene for a discussion around developmental edits (looking at the big-picture), structural edits (looking at the structure of the story), line edits, copy edits (the bit the kids initially latch onto), and finally proof reading.
Some authors struggle with the editing phase, but personally I enjoy it. Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish is a concise guide to the structural editing phase and, whilst there is absolutely no substitute for a professional edit, it’s always good to do a thorough run through yourself to catch as many issues as you can.
The checklists are particularly handy. For example, the one on settings has a very comprehensive 18 separate points! For this reason I prefer a paperback rather than ebook so I can flick through quickly, cover it in post-it notes, and annotate heavily, but that’s partly because I’m an old-school hard-copy girl. I also love the way it covers a wide variety of genres so it has prompts regardless of whether you are writing historical fiction or sci-fi.
I’m actually reading two books on the writing process at the moment, and they couldn’t be more different. This one is blunt and to the point (lots of “you must” rules). The other is a lyrical, philosophical approach. If you’re serious about improving your writing craft, I would recommend you consume as many different approaches as possible as everyone has different issues, and different aspects will resonate with the issues you personally grapple with.
As part of todays blog blitz, I’m ridiculously excited to be hosting this competition to win an introductory editing service, The First Five Package! Entries close on Sunday night, so don’t hang around! Enter here …..
Here’s a description of the service: https://theartandscienceofwords.com/thefirstfivepackage/ It’s worth $150. I wish I could enter myself!! #win #editing
Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish
Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?
If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask? Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books.
In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place.
Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:
– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers.
Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world.
Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at TheArtandScienceofWords.com.