Tuesday, October 17, 2017

6 Editing-My-Novel Steps by J.Q. Rose, 25% Off Sale

Hello and welcome to the Focused on Story Blog by J.Q. Rose!

Mark Twain Quote
I am slogging through the manuscript for Terror on Sunshine Boulevard. Yes, editing. Finding the right words, like Mark Twain said, makes a difference in your story. It is grueling work. When I read a word and it stops me in my editing zone, then it's the wrong word. I have find the right word, but how? 

The steps I go through to find the "right" word.
  • I roll around a lot of words in my head, 
  • I hit shift/f7 to bring up a "dictionary" of sorts in my Word program, 
  • then I go to thesaurus.com for help 
  • if nothing else works, I BOLD and italicize it to return to it when the right word pops into my brain.
6 Editing-My-Novel Steps by J.Q. Rose

Here are the steps I go through when editing (and I must admit I don't have a set number of edits.) Some writers write the first draft, edit for content, edit it for grammar and spellings, final edit for formatting = 4 read-throughs.

1. First draft--I do not edit as I write, or try not to. If you edit as you write, you will never reach the end of the story. Just get down the bones. I admit I do have to correct misspelled words. I am OCD about spelling. I write chronologically. I don't do the big scenes then try and string them together. Tried that once. Never again.
2. I write each chapter and save it in a separate file. I edit each chapter (more than once) before I add it to the manuscript file. Here I add flesh to the bones and clean up awkward sentences and try to slash unnecessary words or redundant information. I have a list of words I overuse, and in the ms I use the Find program in Word to find and replace them.
3. I write the scenes on sticky notes and place them in order according to the ms like a story board. Here's where I can delete or move scenes if I think it improves the flow of the story.
4. I read through the entire ms to check the timeline, sequence, and the characters' actions and descriptions.
5. I put it away and don't touch it for a couple of weeks. Then I send the ms to my kindle and convert it to an ebook. I read it on my kindle and highlight typos, nonsensical sentences, blue eyes to brown eyes, and all the stuff that really sticks out when reading the ms in this format. Sometimes I use the text to speech to "listen" to the story too. Then I find the highlighted notes in the ms and correct them.
6. Finally, I check formatting and make sure Chapter 3 follows Chapter 2, etc. and delete extra pages that sometimes end up in the ms after all the editing.
I'm sure if you have a novel-writing program like Scrivener, some of this work is done for you. But I don't have Scrivener. Do you? Do you use it?

I have a wonderful writers group who reads my chapters and helps me brainstorm and also look for "problems" in the story whether in content or proof-reading. Fresh eyes really, really help. 

By the final read-through, I am comfortable to send it out to beta readers for feedback. And when I get that back, it's back to editing, adding, taking away, etc. You know what I mean.

I'd appreciate hearing from you on your steps for editing. Always eager to learn new methods. Leave a comment below.
Kindle for editing
Photo courtesy of Pixabay
Click here or my blog post on using the kindle for editing
I am experimenting with Grammarly.com, an online program to correct errors in documents. I have it on my FB and email, so when I use these pages errors are highlighted right away. I like that.I haven't tried putting a whole ms into the program...yet. 

I only have the free version. The premium version offers more information such as finding passive sentences, but so far I haven't been curious enough to pay for the service.


My publisher, BWL Publishing is offering 25% off my mysteries when using the coupon for Smashwords. The sales price with the coupon is $2.24...Grab them for yourself or your friends! All formats are available. If you have a kindle, order the mobi file.

Click on the titles below to go to the Smashwords Sales Page. 

   Dangerous Sanctuary                              Deadly Undertaking

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Marsha said...

Hey, JQ. I'm so impressed with your very organized way of doing your edits. I'm making a copy to see if this won't help me do the editing thing faster. I'm sooo slow.I'm going to check out the blog on dowmloading to Kindle. Boy, I bet stuff really jumps out when reading it that way! And I've never listened to it. I read it out loud myself, and boy does that take a while. But again, somehow when the words come out of my mouth, those over-used words jump out anhd the sound alikes, too. I'm sharing. Great post. And can't wait for this next books. :)

Tess Grant said...

Well....I have to say I'm too OCD to not edit as I go. Word-wise my rough draft is very similar to my final draft. What changes is the plot/characters in my revisions. But I loved hearing your process.

Helena Fairfax said...

Hi JQ, I love your organised way of editing. There is a LOT of thought that goes into editing a manuscript, as I know from editing other people's. I'm a slow writer and I do all the thinking as I write. I've tried just getting down the first draft and going back to it, but I just can't do it this way. I've also tried Scrivener. I know some people love it, but again, I couldn't work this way. I've developed my own way of working, and I find if I try to step out of it, my ideas vanish.
Good luck with your editing. I'm really looking forward to your release!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Marsha, I never felt I was organized, but after writing it all down, it does seem so.LOL I read difficult chapters out loud, especially with large sections of dialog, but not the whole book. That's a good tip. Thanks so much for sharing!

J.Q. Rose said...

Hey Tess, editing as you go works for you. The first draft similar to the final draft? Amazing. Isn't great how we all have different processes to produce the same product, a story?

J.Q. Rose said...

HI Helena, I haven't tried to use Scrivener. I don't want to take the time or endure the frustration of learning the program. I did download the free program, yWriter similar to Scrivener , but it was overwhelming. Thank you for stopping by.

emaginette said...

I tried Grammarly as a MS Word add-on. It wormed its way into my registry. Once I turned down the trial, it kept popping up. I had to dig it out the hard way. After that I tried ProWritingAid. Much more user friendly. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Anna, Uh-oh. I thought this was the FREE Grammarly program, no trial. So far it's working fine, but at times annoying to see how many typos I've made! I haven't heard of the prwritingaid system. I'll check it out. Thanks.

Pat Garcia said...

Hi JQ,
I am in the middle of editing my first manuscript. I have Scrivener but I use both Word and Scrivener. I like the flexibility that I have with Word. When trying to find the right word, I also search thesaurus.com, my dictionaries and the programs that I used. What I haven't done is tried Kindle while editing and that is something to think about.
Thanks for all your helpful tips.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Pat. Good luck editing your ms. Sounds like you have the right tools to do it! Glad you can use the tips.

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