Self-Editing Fiction Should be Fun
I know you are probably wondering; how I can say self-editing is fun?
Think about it, you are writing because you are creative. Self-editing fiction should be as creative as original writing. I don’t know how many times John and I have edited our books.
We have spent more time editing than writing, I am sure of that. With each edit, our books became better.
Our anticipation of success became stronger, as our books improved.
Let’s face it the original writing always seems to be the hardest part. You put your heart and soul into your story. We know how much work that is.
After your finished,Not only are you supposed to go through your story again, but several more times. Are you kidding me?
You probably hate the idea of editing. Creative people get bored so easily. therefore, let’s put a different spin on editing.
You’re an artist, right? Your creative,yes? Then why not consider editing a creative adventure, instead of work.
Once you start editing you can play around with the dialog and settings. Add intriguing details and think of different ways to tell your story.
Great Books Aren’t Written They are Rewritten.
When self-editing fiction, let your imagination guide you. Discover new, and exciting ways to tell your story. John and I are always discovering what we call, missed opportunities. Things we can add to make the story more interesting or more compelling. These new ideas are exciting.
Maybe it’s a new description of a character or something in the setting. Maybe it’s a way to improve the dialog or add a new gesture.
Sometimes we get a whole new idea for an action scene. Self-editing your fiction manuscript is not just about punctuation and spelling. Grammar is only a small part of self-editing your story..
In our first book, we had an exploding orange nebula near the beginning of the book. As we were self-editing, we realized there was another place we could put an exploding orange nebula. So, we rearranged the war scenes toward the end of the book.
Now we had two exploding orange nebulae, and a much better ending
I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed adding those scenes to our book. That’s the key to making self-editing fiction fun.
Don’t Be Afraid to Change What You Wrote.
To write fiction we need to become immersed in the illusion, in the language we create. That’s great! We have found it best not to edit while we write. Just let your creativity soar.
But there is a problem with this wonderful creative state: we can lose perspective. We feel our writing is fabulous and everyone will love it. But it’s not like that.
Every great writer learns to scratch parts we love. It might be painful but the more you write the more you will learn to accept it.
We’ve taken out whole scenes that we loved when we wrote them. Generally we file them as deleted scenes. Occasionally we have resurrected the scenes and re purposed them. But usually they remain deleted.
Try to establish personal editing routine. Write an entire page, or a whole chapter before you stop to review it. Don’t worry you have time. What ever you do we suggest that you sleep on it. Don’t edit right away. What you wrote will look different a day or two later.
Start with story editing. This means looking at your plot, characters, and motivations. You should learn a lot during this process. We think this is the most fun.
Second is line editing. This deals with paragraphs, sentence flow, and word choice. How does the language sound and flow? Don’t be afraid to rewrite entire paragraphs.
Third is copy editing. This is more about the mechanics. About grammar and punctuation. This can be boring but necessary. You might ask a friend to help. See our post on Editing Sentences
Fourth is proofreading. This last step checks for typos. Too many typos or annoying to your reader. It needs to be done if you want your book to sell well.
Self Editing Fiction is a Challenge
After the story is written it is much easier to intertwine characters and to boost your theme. Boosting your theme should be a major part of editing your fiction. check out our article on Identifying and Magnifying your Theme.
Self-Editing Skills Take Time To Learn
Discovering your own personal writing skills won’t happen all at once. Each time you self-edit your fiction you will expand your abilities. Your editing will amplify your characters and your story-line.
. You will find the right words. Words that will touch your reader’s hearts and have a greater impact.
Creative writing is the one of the few places, in life, where someone can have complete control. As a writer, you are the “God” of your story.
If you want your couple to have a romantic evening in front of a glowing fire, it is you who creates the setting and the crackling logs in the fireplace. You can add white fluffy snow falling elegantly outside the window.
Perhaps you change your mind. “I want more.”
OK. The white, fluffy snow becomes a wild blizzard with shrieking winds whistling through the trees and drifts of snow piled against the door. A blazing fire roaring in the stone hearth.
Self-Editing Pumps up Your Creative Juices
Remember nothing is written in stone until you’re published. Even then if you self-publish you will be able to make changes.
Here’s one trick. When you writing your first draft if you think of another way to write a scene or an optional character reaction go on and write it in. Use parenthesis or another color if you’re on a computer. Just write it in the margin if you’re using pencil and paper.
Now when you line edit decide which version to throw away. You may be surprised how easy it is to make that decision. You may find this preserves some mental energy because you don’t have to remember all your ideas.
There is no reason why you can’t give yourself several options.
Let us show you how this works.
Let’s get back to our romantic scene. Ah! Maybe the romance should take place on a tropical island. It will be you who creates the hues of lavender and gold in the sky, the brilliant sun dawning over the silver tipped waves.
Maybe not. Maybe a storm at sea with sprays of light springing from dark purple clouds. The wind prowling through the sails of the couple’s small craft.
Revising is the writer’s exclusive privilege. You can go back and re-create the scene after it has been written. There are dozens of ways to write the same scene.
. Experiment try it one way, then another. Change locations, add or subtract characters, dialog or scenery until you have something uniquely yours.
Self-Editing fiction should be the best part of writing. Have fun. Enjoy the process
Self-Editing Fiction is a Process
Editing your novel should be intriguing. Editing is your opportunity to fine tune your story. There is no wrong way to write your story.
Don’t be in a hurry to get published. It takes time to learn all the many nuances of writing. The more techniques you master, the better book you will write. In today’s electronic age you can self publish any time you want.
You may think your novel is ready long before it really is.
Write your story, whether long or short. The important thing is to get your ideas down on paper. Next, study writing techniques.
Read books. Go to seminars, listen to your professors. Study the techniques and tips in our website. As you discover new writing methods, find places in your novel to use those ideas.
Anyone with imagination can write a book.
Great writing, like any other form of art, takes practice. Many famous writers have expressed how thankful they were that no one would publish their first efforts. Their first efforts were not well written. If those first novels had been published, the authors felt it would have hurt their careers. See how to Become a Power Writer.
Learn your craft.
Great painters know how to paint a basic scene. Then they enhance their painting with details. It is the details that add value to their artwork. If you want to become a great author, you must use the same idea. Write your basic novel.
Then add the intimate details which will increase the value of your writing. It is those details that make self-editing fiction fun.
We want to help you learn new, dynamic ways to add those details. We desire to give you the tools to revise your novel in spectacular ways. One of the best things about creative writing, is you don’t need to know everything about writing to get started.
You may discover a single technique that will inspire you to revise an entire chapter. Another tip might spark your imagination to add a new scene or eliminate one. You might see your hero in a new light and want to make him or her a more dynamic character.
Self-Editing Fiction Should be Exciting
Each month the Writing contest, in our website, will help you master a new skill. You then can practice the tips by entering our contest. Submit your original scene to be Voted on. You can discuss the tips with fellow writers. After you feel confident with this new exercise and tips, go to your own book. Find places where these new methods will improve your writing.
Eventually these exercises and tips will become an integral part of your thinking and writing. With practice, they will flow easily from your fingers onto your pages. Our website is designed to help you write better, to elevate your creative ideas to a higher level.
It’s Your Story
It will take time to become a masterful writer. See yourself as an author. You should be striving toward your goal, because it is something you desire.
Discover the joy for yourself. Let go of the things holding you back. You have the capacity to write wonderful stories. Slowly at first, but later with increasing ability and insistence the writer inside you will emerge.
There is something magical about the prospect of having your words read by millions.
Editing is the key to writing a Great Book, so make it fun.
To learn more about self-editing fiction check out these websites.
Receive a free 21 part check list https://jerryjenkins.com/self-editing/
Do you think self-editing is important for a writer?
Is self-editing fiction hard for you?
If you have any questions or comments, please ask us in the comments.
We would love to chat.
John & Patty
Download 50 things to look for when editing for a comprehensive list of do it yourself edits.