I am not a published author. I want to be, oh I really want to be. I want my words to sing to someone’s heart, make them laugh, and have them hold their breath in anticipation. Mostly I want someone to love my characters the way I do. But for that to happen, I have to get published.
For over a year, I have trolled blogs, read Writer’s Digest, and perused agents websites. I have followed advice, taken online courses, and read books on writing. However, in all of my research on how to get my manuscript published, I have yet to find a good book, blog, or article on editing…until now.
Writing And Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron is a manuscript saver. And I thought I’d share some of her tips with you.
Fly High-Reread from start to finish. Here is where you take a hard look at your characters and your plot. While you are reading, keep a notebook handy for writing notes and suggestions. Here is what you pay special attention to: The main plot, point of view, the main character, and the villain. She also suggests checking the chronology of your book-Is it snowing in the summer or light at night during the winter. Have you packed twenty hours worth of events between sunrise and sunset? Another valuable tip is to open a document for scenes/chapters that you delete, in case you need some of the sentences or information later.
Flying Low-This means you check spelling, grammar and punctuation. In this category, she also mentions checking your physical reactions. Do your characters always: smile, nod their head, sigh, or frown. According to her, an occassional nod or smile is okay, but that can’t always be their reaction. This edit also includes weeding out the adverbs, pumping up the dialogue, and replacing bland verbs with ones that more accurately depict the scene. Not sure what a bland verb is? Here are a few: is, get, have, look, make, move, put, see, take, watch, and go. You might want to add your own to it.
And of course do you have a strong start and a strong finish. Does your book open and end with a strong line? Is your first time introduction to a setting, interior/exterior brought to life? How about your first and final character interaction?
These are only a few of her recommendations that I found helpful. I only wish I’d read this sooner.
What is your favorite editing tip?