I’m hosting a guest post today by Brenda Moguez, author of women’s fiction “Nothing is Lost in Loving”. She shares with us her thorough editing process.
Your editing process
Unlike other authors, I don’t jump with joy when it’s time to edit. At least not the first edit, but by the second and third, even forth revision I am keen to cut and cull. Rather than tell how I edit, let me illustrate.
Recipe for Editing a Novel
1 printed copy of your finished manuscript (can be substituted with short story, poem, op-ed, etc.)
1 Copy of The Chicago Manual of Style
1 Copy of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary
1 Dog-eared copy of Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus. 3rd ed.
1 Copy of Steven King’s On Writing – read and re-read the chapter on editing
1 Freelance Professional Editor
1 Ballpoint pen
$$ – $$$
Several Boxes of Chamomile Tea
Patience (you will need this for the rinse and repeat sessions)
- Loads of it begged, borrowed, and stolen from your life without guilt
- Time away from completed project (strongly suggest writer leave finished works alone for a least a week before beginning the process)
- Dedicated and undisturbed periods of time during edit(s)
- Text to voice app
- Devoted cat or dog who loves the sound of your voice)
Make a pot of tea, carry to the quiet room, and place on a side table next to the comfy chair. Retrieve printed copy of manuscript and ballpoint pen before taking a seat in the comfy chair. Next, read aloud to devoted pet over multiple periods.
Use the pen to circle:
- Awkward worded sentences
- Misspelled words
- Overused words
- Word repeats (notice my use of word in the first four bullet points, actually it appears throughout the recipe)
- Missing commas and any other punctuation left out or added incorrectly
- The word that (will be needed later)
- Numbers are not spelled out
- Inconsistencies such as timeline, age of character, etc.,
- Poor sentence and paragraph transitions
- Too much showing, not enough narration
- Audit for overuse of unnecessary dialogue tags
- Overuse of filter words: for instance, if you’ve written your character thought or wondered or saw something. Ask yourself if you would truly say in your head, I wonder or I thought. Of course, you wouldn’t. Even though you do wonder and you do think, you don’t tell yourself to do either, you just do it. Right?
- Watch for use of passive voice and verbs
- Remember the 5 C’s of copy editing
- Use of Italics
- Refer to your copy of The Chicago Manual of Style for guidance
- Consider word choices–is there an alternative option? Something more fitting?
- Check tenses–are they consistent throughout the MS?
Upon reading through your manuscript and making hundreds of notations, updating the e-copy, repeat the steps noted above. Note: this might occur two, three, even four or more times.
After several revisions, you are ready to solicit the assistance of a professional and spend your coffee budget on editing. It’s finally time to go find a seasoned copy editor and/or a developmental editor–the quality of need is dependent on the state of the story, which only the writer will be able to access–and hand over the almost, but not yet polished story.
Once the edited document comes back, brace yourself for the expense, comments, edit recommendations, and endless red lines. Brew a pot of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine or scotch, then return to the quiet room and take a seat in the comfy chair. Inhale. Take a deep breath, sip, whichever beverage that accompanied you from the kitchen, and then open the edited document.
AFTER reading through the changes, accepting and revising your story, save and put away the document for at least a week before printing and starting the process over.
One more printed copy. One or several more reads, notes, and subsequent updates.
Read it aloud (again) to your devoted pet (or the wall), and with the trusty ball point pen ready to circle oddities and faux pas’, be ready to cut ten percent.
Go back to the e-copy and make the necessary edits, cuts and culls. Spare no word from hacking, cut and chop.
Rinse and repeat.
About the Book
Author: Brenda Moguez
Genre: Women’s Fiction
When Stella Delray unexpectedly loses her job a week before Christmas, which is also the anniversary of her husband’s death, she is forced to stop talking to his ashes, come to terms with her loss, and get her life back on track for her young son’s sake as well as her own. She never expected that posting an ad on Craigslist would send her into the arms of not one but two men, one of whom is her former boss. Now she’s working as an admin for a retired Broadway star, bookkeeping for an erotic video production company, and writing love letters for the mysterious “Oaklander.” Adding to the craziness of her new life, her monster-in-law resurfaces and the father-in-law she never met shows up on her doorstep. With the guidance of her best friend, Bono, Stella will learn to redefine the rules she’s always lived by.
Brenda Moguez writes the kind of stories she loves to read–women’s fiction, starring quirky, passionate women who are challenged by the fickleness and complexities of life.
She’s particularly drawn to exploring the effects of love on the heart of a woman. She has aspirations for a fully staffed villa in Barcelona and funding aplenty for a room of her own. When she’s not working on a story, she writes love letters to the universe, dead poets, and Mae West. Her second novel, Nothing is Lost in Loving, is set to release April 2016. You can find her at http://www.brendamoguez.com where she explores passionate pursuits in all its forms.
Author Site: http://www.brendamoguez.com
Buy the book on Amazon