Editing Your Own Writing

Kevin G.

The best advice I can give to an indie author about how to edit your own writing is – don’t. Hire an editor. It’s worth every penny to have an independent set of eyes looking at your writing to tell you where you have missed the forest through the trees or missed a dead tree because of the surrounding forest. An independent set of eyes will also see grammar, word usage, punctuation, and other copy-editing errors you gloss right by because you know what you’re writing and what the characters are saying. Your brain fails to detect things a reader will catch. There’s no substitute for a professional editor. There are great freelance editors who will give you a reasonable price. Reedsy.com has listings for them, among other places.
The next best advice is to get somebody you know and trust, who has not read the book, to read it. Ask your trusted reader to flag any unclear sentences, ambiguity in who’s speaking, tense agreement irregularities, punctuation errors, and other copy-editing issues. The “beta” reader can also tell you if there are big plot holes, logic problems in the flow of the story, or characters who behave inconsistently, or whose voices change from the beginning to the end. These are things a fresh reader can pick up on, even if they are not a professional editor.
At some point, you will sit down to “edit” your own book. It may be your final read-through after your editor or beta reader has finished, or it may be that you have set the book aside for a few weeks (a good idea) and now you’re ready to put the finishing touches on it before uploading or submitting it. No matter the circumstances, you’re ready to edit.
Here are a few tips to help you do it as well as possible.

Read the entire article in the May 2020 issue of InD'Tale magazine.

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