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Editing, the fourth step in the writing process, is the act of correcting and improving your draft. Usually, editing covers small typos and sentence structure problems as well as paragraph form and other grammatical issues. It is not be confused with revising (the third step in the writing process) which involves plot changes, character strengthening and usually redrafting. NaNoWriMo's Now What? Months offer resources after the new year for Wrimos seeking to edit and revise their novels.
What to edit
Editing includes correcting, improving, or modifying:
- Point of View
- Manuscript form
- Paragraph form
- Dialogue/dialogue tags
- Word use
- Sentence structure
- Making nouns more concrete and verbs more vivid
When to edit
Editing usually comes right after revising.
How to edit
Most resources suggest that the writer should first check each scene for usefulness, potency, and to see if it starts and ends in the right place; then check each paragraph for unity, coherence and emphasis; then each sentence for effectiveness, structure, and clearness; then each word for effectiveness and vividness.
Tips for Editing
- Print the manuscript out. It's easier to spot typos on paper than it is on screen.
- Read the manuscript out loud. If you get tongue tied on a sentence, change it.
- Use a red pen to mark your mistakes. Red shows up best on paper.
- Don't expect to get every single typo on the first read-through. There are countless published books that have gone through the author, critique partners, agent, editor, publisher, and advanced copy receivers that still have one or two typos in it. If you want your book to be grammatically perfect, I'm afraid you'll be working yourself for far too long.