I’ve mentioned this before, but I dread editing. My favorite part of writing a novel is the actual writing part and when it comes time to start editing, I do whatever I can to put it off. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people who can write a perfect first draft and eventually I must go through and pick apart my work. Here are some tips and tricks for the most pain-free way to edit if you hate editing like I do.
Set a Time Limit
Editing can be overwhelming and there’s typically a point where your brain can’t take anymore. So set a timer or keep an eye on the clock and decide when a certain time rolls around, you will stop. Then take a break. Maybe finish for the day. Or just take a long break before diving back in.
Focus on Different Aspects
Do not try to edit with the idea to ‘make everything better’. You need to be looking for specific things, which means you’ll need to edit at least four times. The first time, look for spelling and grammar mistakes. Then, go through for continuity errors. Then, check for plot. Finally, read your novel as if you just picked it up at the bookstore and see if any glaring errors stand out.
Bring in Outside Help
Sometimes you need a fresh eye to take a look at your work. Ask a friend (best not to use family members) to read your novel. Request that they take notes and after they’re finished, sit down with them and ask questions. Did the novel make sense? Were the characters likeable? Did anything feel off? Were any subplots dropped? You’ll be surprised by how much you miss when you’re so close to your own work.
If you really want a keen eye to go over your manuscript, pay to have an editor take a look. When you’re paying a total stranger to point out your flaws, odds are you’re going to get a brutally honest opinion.
How do you edit efficiently?