Dragonfly Words

Cleaning up for the Maid, or Editing before hiring an Editor

August 7, 2010
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I’m nearing the editing phase (or so I keep telling myself), I’ve been looking for some helpful tips on how to successfully self-edit. During my stint in publishing, I had no problem telling an author that a section slowed down the reader or that a sentence was too wordy. I’ve even been known to throw out entire chapters. When it comes to my own writing, I do not find it to be quite so easy to pinpoint these errors. In short, I either think everything I write is awful and beyond repair (enter the trashcan) or that unnecessary characters/scenes/sub-plots, you name it, are integral to my story.

Before shelling out several hundred dollars to pay a professional editor, I would like to feel that I’m giving said professional editor my best work. It’s the same concept as cleaning up for the maid. You want a maid to spend his/her time cleaning the things you hate cleaning. You don’t want to pay her/him to put your shoes away, which you can easily do for free.

In an effort to start thinking about cleaning up for maid, I have stumbled upon some good blog posts about editing. My favorite post I’ve found in the past few days was from MiG Writers, A Revision Tip, posted by Carmella. In her post, Carmella suggests printing the book out, not how you would print a normal document, but formatted the way it will look in print (horizontal, not vertical). By reading it this way, it will feel like you are reading a real book. You will see the book how a reader would see it. This should help pinpoint problems you may have otherwise missed (see her blog post for specifics).

Because of some tricky plot points coming up, I’ve been thinking that now would be a good time to read through everything I have so far to make sure it is all lining up. I think I will give this trick a try. I’ll keep you updated on how it works out.

*Just read this blog post that I thought I would add: 10 Steps to a Better Story. Good things to keep in mind while editing.