Ask the Experts: Tips for Self-Editing

 As many of you know, I have been hard at work on my first novel. Currently, my focus has been on getting the story down and for once, have not disappeared down the rabbit hole of editing while I write, although the temptation has been great. After more than two years, I finally can see the end in sight and couldn’t be more excited!

I do plan to hire an editor for this novel, but in the meantime, I will clean up some of the apparent errors.  As a practice, I use three-four editing tools for all my work, and I must say, I find them an essential tool in my writing.

  1. The Writer’s Diet is one of the first tools I use. A free resource, this tool provides an overview of your writing. Insert 100-1000 words to find out if your is writing is lean or flabby.
  2. The Hemingway Editor  – available for both MAC and Windows, provides an incredible array of convenient tools:
  • Use it anywhere;  even without internet connection.
  • Format your prose
  • Publish directly to WordPress & Medium
  • Export to Microsoft Word or other editors – a New feature
  • Send Hemingway highlights to colleagues –  a New feature

3. Grammarly –  an excellent grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary tool.

4.  Autocrit – A manuscript editing software, specifically for fiction writers.

These are my tips, but, since I’m still learning, I checked with the experts.

Jacqui Murray offers specific and detailed tips in her article, 19 Self-editing for Your Writing.  Tips include:

  • eliminating weak/waste  words – very, was, it, but, just;
  • eliminate redundancies and word repetition, and as many dialogue tags when possible.
  • Limiting adverbs, gerunds, qualifiers, prepositional phrases,
  • Secure place and time in each chapter; verify timeline.
  • Change passive to active words and phrases.

To read more from Jacqui and get the details, as well as other resources she can recommend, check out her article.

Other resources you might want to check out, include:

What about you? Do you have some advice for this writer on self-editing? I’d love to hear all about it.  I’m all ears and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

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16 thoughts on “Ask the Experts: Tips for Self-Editing

  1. Nice post, and thanks for sharing. Way back when I came across a very helpful book:

    Self-Editing for Fiction Writer: How to Edit Yourself Into Print, by Renni Browne and Dave King

    I bought the original edition (early 1990s); it’s since been updated. I found this book to be a very helpful tool. Disclaimer: I have no monetary interests in this book, nor do I know either author. Simply a book I found to be very useful. 🙂
    –Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Friday Roundup – 24th November | Stevie Turner, Indie Author.

  3. Outstanding!
    I’m that kinda of aspiring writer when the feeling to write comes right to my mind and hands… I can’t stop. I don’t know what is to be a pregnant woman but looks like you are literarily pregnant when you are writing a book. There is no way back. It’s just possible one move: moving on and on till you give birth to “the child”. Of course you are going to find the necessity to fix your mistakes with a good proofreading. Draftings are similar to human beings. They are not perfect and you must live and deal with them in your lifetime. You don’t have that option: “Ok, I’ll drop this child and I will help the children of my neighbor because they are more beautiful and more smart than mine”. LOL. Of course we are not going to do that. They are not even correlated but the point still stays on. And even more if you are going to hire a translator to sell your books in other countries. The translator is going to translate our mistakes because they are an important part of our work and “personal magic” through their interpretations building bridges to reach us in a tangible way.
    Most of people, 99% of those who establish themselves as writers do it for money. I do it for free and to please myself. it’s crazy, isn’t? I do believe in my craziness and I really enjoyed your writings.

    Kind wish.

    Liked by 1 person

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