Every book you read has gone through a process of editing from the first draft to the version you read in a published book. This includes all forms of books including novels and short stories in anthologies.
Once you’ve written your first draft, the next step is to do some editing. Here are some simple tips to get you started with editing.
- Let your story rest – before you start editing, put your story in a folder or a drawer for a while. If you’re on a deadline, then leaving it overnight is a good start. It’s better if you can leave it for a few days or even a week or two. This way you can come back to your story with fresh eyes.
- Print it out – if you have typed your story, print it out. Looking at your story in a different format can be helpful when picking up any issues, and you can write all over it with a pen or pencil. This is particularly useful when you’re doing our next tip.
- Read it somewhere else – sometimes the simple act of reading your story in a different chair, or a different room can put it in a different light. If you usually work at a desk, take your story and read it in the garden or in the lounge room. It can help to reset your mind so you can see things that need to be fixed.
- Read it out loud – it’s amazing what you hear when you read your story out instead of looking at the text on the screen or in a notebook. You can hear when something just doesn’t sound right or if you’ve repeated the same word too many times in the one paragraph. If you feel silly reading it to an empty room, try reading it to your pet or your teddy bear.
- Rewrite your story – it is tempting to just tweak the words you’ve already written, however if you rewrite your previous draft, this is where you can fill in plot holes and fix up anything you may have missed the last time you wrote your story. Use your current draft as a rough plan rather than something to copy.
If you search for editing tips, there are a lot out there, these are just a few simple ideas to get you started.
Remember: anything in your first draft can be fixed up in editing, so this is the time to work on it, and before you send it to an editor!