Saturday, 28 February 2015

My editing tips (as a non-editor) - Part 3

This week my tips are three unusual things you can to do to help you edit your own writing:
  1. Everyone will tell you to hide your first draft in a drawer for at least 4 weeks before tackling the editing. Yep, you should that. It gives your brain a chance to forget what you have written, so you can start the editing with fresh eyes.
  2. Start from the back. Now this tip made me giggle when I heard about it the first time. If you think about it, it does make sense. Start editing at the last paragraph will keep your mind focused on the words written, not the story line. This is a helpful hint for copy editing – finding grammar, spelling and language errors.
  3. Rewrite your story in pictures. Stick figures or little blocks will do the job, if you cannot draw people. This tip helps your editing effort to spot gaps in your plot and timeline. Add cryptic notes, on the actions/activities your characters are involved in.

    Draw a line underneath the block/figures and make notes on the timeline through the story. If you are using flashbacks in time (although not recommended) make sure that your reader knows where the shift is and who the POV character is for the flashback. The same applies for flash-forward scenes.
Lastly, draw an emotional/action line above your storyline.  Indicate the intensity/highs and lows of the storyline. Are the lows too long? Is the action interspersed with less intense activities? Is the emotional roller coaster of your protagonist balanced with highs, lows and normal activity?
Do it by scene or chapter – it will depend on the type of story you are writing. See the example below for a high action scene.
editing tips. editing for writers
Do you have any unusual tips for editing that works for you? Why not share it in the comments, it might just be the tip someone is looking for.