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.

5 Quick and Dirty Tips on Sentence Structure

As someone working hard this month to complete a draft of my novel, I appreciate posts like this one from Sacha Black and Writers Helping Writers,  Getting Jiggy with the Nitty Gritty, or, Improving Your Sentences.

This is a keeper and one I will use to start the editing process when ( notice I said when) I finish my novel.  In the meantime, if you’re looking for some quick and dirty tips on sentence structure, check out Sacha’s post and these 5 Tips.

  1. Filtering
  2. Juxtapositions
  3. ‘Sense’-ational Sentences
  4. Crutch Words, Wordiness, and Clichés
  5. First and Last Lines

It’s well worth a read. And, if you would like to follow the progress of my novel, you can read it and Buzz me at http://www.chapterbuzz.com/sheilamgood.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.