Guest Post: A Writer’s Handbook: 10 Self-Editing Techniques You Need to Know

April 24, 2018

So, you’re in the process of writing your book, you’re coming up to completion and now comes the part of the process where you need to edit your book to perfection. If you’ve chosen to self-edit your book, this gives you full control over your content, so you can make it exactly how you want it.

However, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not missing anything out, so it’s perfect. Today, we’re going to explore ten of the most important tips you need to know in order to make your book perfect for your readers.

#1 – Be Self-Critical

Although you’ve spent hours and hours writing your book, now is the time to develop a thick skin when it comes to critiquing yourself. When you’re reading through your book, there may be entire paragraphs that you feel don’t work that will need to be removed or edited.

While deleting bulk areas of your content may be heart-breaking, it’s essential if you want your book to be as good as it can be.

#2 – Remain Concise

More commonly referred to as ‘throat-clearing’, this is where your story begins at the beginning, or even after a new chapter, two or three pages after you’ve been setting the scene. This is far too long, and the readers will get bored with the slowness of the story. Try to remain to the point to keep things moving.

#3 – Omitting Certain Words

During your editing process, it’s vital that you’re strict with yourself when it comes to removing words that are needless within your content. Every single word needs to provide value to your story while creating an image in your reader’s head. Be ruthless.

#4 – Put the Reader First

“When you’re writing your story, it can be easy to try and showcase your writer’s skill by using fancy or long-winded words and descriptions of places or concepts. However, this can confuse or misguide a lot of readers, so try to consider them with every word you write,” shares Frank Goring, a writer and editor for Essay Roo.

#5 – Refine, Refine, REFINE

Take a look at the following sentence.

“He nodded his head to agree.” This could easily be refined to create an easier reading experience by simply saying ‘he nodded’. This is a great way to keep your story moving and your sentences punchy and direct.

#6 – Use Online Tools

There is a tonne of online tools, services and resources out there that can help you successfully carry out certain processes in your editing stage. Here are a few to get you started;

  • Via Writing & Simple Grad – Two writing blogs with a wealth of resources to help you improve your general editing skills with tips and expert advice.
  • Ox Essays & Academized – Two leading proofreading services to ensure your content is 100% free from mistakes and errors, as recommended by the Huffington Post in Dissertation Writing Service
  • Cite It In & Easy Word Count – Two free formatting tools to help you format references in your book, and for tracking your overall word count.
  • UKWritings & Boom Essays – These are two professional writing communities where you can meet other like-minded writers to share tips and experiences, as suggested by UK Top Writers.
  • My Writing Way & Let’s Go and Learn – There are two online writing blogs with all the information and posts you’ll need for enhancing your general writing knowledge.

#7 – Don’t Insult the Reader

Of course, this is not something you’re going to do intentionally, but it’s important to remember that your reader does have a level of intelligence, so when you’re writing about a certain idea or concept, there’s no reason why you’re going to need to repeat it, so they understand.

If they need to refresh their memory, they’ll re-read what they have just written. Don’t go on and on about the same ideas.

#8 – Avoid ‘Nothingness’ Sentences

Unless absolutely necessary in the story, try to avoid sentences and phrases where you’re describing something that hasn’t happened. For example, ‘she stood in silence’ or ‘there was no response’. If something didn’t happen, the reader would assume it didn’t because you haven’t written it.

#9 – Be Lenient with Adjectives

It can be very tempting to build up an image in your reader’s mind by using adjectives, but there’s no reason why you should overload your sentences with them. What’s more, try to avoid using double-barrelled adjectives that prolong your story.

For example, ‘the dominating, horizon-filling mountain had been reached’. This could be refined to one or the other.

#10 – Avoid ‘Literally’

Avoid using the term ‘literally’, unless you literally mean ‘literally’. Remember that ‘figuratively’ will be the word that you’re looking for, such as a metaphor, so it’s important that you don’t mix up the two.

Grace Carter is an online editor atAssignment ServiceandAustralianHelp, where she helps Aussie students improve grades. Also, she tutors atPaperFellows, academic writing service.

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