Self Editing

Someone asked me about my process I use for my self edits. This is a process that I came up with too many years to think about when I was in college. It helped me produce concise as clean as I could get it papers and such. I’ve since adapted it for writing my books. This is just my process and works for me. First I’m going to mention the draft.

After the first draft of the book is done I let it sit for a bit before I do any edits to it. Usually about a month or so. This lets me go back once ready for self edits with a fresh perspective and eyes for the book.

Note: This might change according to if I am on a deadline. As in if the book is for a call that I am subbing to, a date due to a publisher or so.

Initial Stage:
So after letting the book sit for a bit I start reading. Reading only. No editing. When reading I overlook any typos, wrong words usage and so on. In this stage I am looking for the flow of the book. Any gaps or unresolved story lines. I just mark brief notes if there is a hiccups I find. This is for me to look at the later to address when I get into the actual self editing.

First Stage:
After a complete read through of book beginning to end I go back and address the hiccups I found. I find any gaps or unresolved story lines and fill them out. If for some reason a thread or scene I had started in the book but it doesn’t work for it now I get rid of it. I take the passages and save them. I put them in my “Writing Bits”, this is a folder which I have for all such scenes that I cut from my books. They might not work for one story but could for another.

I work on all those places that I need to fill in or so on. Until I addressed everything I saw so far.

Middle Stage:
This is the deep editing stage. The one where I look at grammar, spelling, plot, pacing and characterization. Addressing everything in the story. For grammar I have a mini checklist of things that I tend to do when I write. Overuse of words, awkward phrasing and all that. Spelling is twofold. In my paranormals I might create a language so I must make sure the spelling of a word I created in consistent. And of course if it isn’t my created word must make sure it is spelled correctly. (grin) For Plot and Pacing I see if what I am trying to achieve has been done and the overall feel of how the story is flowing. This could mean I might also have to fill in some threads or more scenes. Characterization is to make sure that I have kept things true to what I have created the characters to be. Making sure that it reads true who the core characters is.

This is the more complex of the stages since I am addressing everything in depth.

Final Stage:
This is another read through of the book. In this one the book should already be very clean and concise. As I read I address anything I missed in the other stages. Filling them in, corrections and all that.

Postlude Stage:
Last part where I do a full read through of book. By this stage there should be no more self edits that I will do. The book is ready to sub. Now I am reading for the joy of the story. Although sometimes by this stage I sort of hate the book. Been with it so long and all I want is it to be done already. LOL.

Self Edit – time frame

There is no set time frame. Each book is different and some may take more work than others. And times can vary according to how much work I need to do in each stage. With each book I’ve gotten better at not leaving any threads or scenes unresolved so I usually don’t have to fill in things or cut most of the time. I just take the time I need to get the book as clean and concise as I can before I sub it.

That is basically how I do self edits.

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