Break Out the Red Pen! Editing and Revising Your Manuscript

(WIP Wednesday 02)

Hello, and happy Wednesday! This week, I am knee-deep in editing Daughter of Nightmares to get it ready for beta readers. What better time for a post about editing and polishing a manuscript? I originally intended to do a post outlining my personal revision process (and I still might so stay tuned!), but this week I thought I’d do something a little different. I see a lot of questions pop up in the writing community online about editing and revisions. Here’s a post addressing some of the most common questions I’ve seen from writers.

  1. Who should self-edit?
    Everyone. While it shouldn’t be the only editing your manuscript sees, always polish your work as much as you can on your own.
  2. How many drafts will my manuscript need before I’m done?
    Man, do I wish I had an easy answer for that. Every writer is different, and each project is unique. While one writer or project may only need two or three rounds of revision, another might require nine or ten.
  3. If I’m planning to hire an editor, do I need to self-edit?
    Yes. The more work you give your editor, the more he or she will charge you. An editor’s job isn’t to fill in your plot holes or write the book for you. Editors are awesome people, but they aren’t magic wizards. An editor helps you turn a good manuscript into a great one, but if you haven’t fully fleshed out your story or worked out the details, the result may still disappoint you.
  4. Okay, I’m ready to tackle the revisions on my manuscript. Where do I start?
    Ah, yet another question where the answer is unique to the writer. Find the editing process that works best for you. Some writers like to start by putting their manuscript away for a while so they can revisit the story with fresh eyes. Others like to dive right in while the story is fresh in their mind. I like to start with a reverse outline to give me an aerial view of my scenes and story before I go in with a scalpel to fix things. Experiment with different things until you find what works best for you.
  5. Where can I go for feedback on my story before I submit my manuscript to an editor/agent?
    Critique groups and beta readers are both fabulous ways to get feedback on your manuscript. You can find critique groups both online and in person at local writing clubs. Or, if you’d prefer something more intimate, you can find a critique partner to work with one-on-one. Beta readers can help to locate poor pacing, awkward dialogue, and all kinds of other weirdness that slipped through the cracks those nights you stayed up too late working on your story.

Those are my top five tips for surviving the editing and revision process. Do you have any tips or tricks that work for you? Let me know in the comments! As always, happy writing.


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