Editing your work with editor Jennifer Fisher, speaker at Hudson Library and Historical Society on Sept. 25, 2017.
Self editing your novel – to enhance work, streamline, robust language, create a product to sell
Type of editing
- Development (subjective) – what is the big picture, characterization, plot development, and narrative flow
- Line editing – focus on prose, word choice, paragraph structure, and sentence flow
- Copy editing – check facts, punctuation, and capitalization
- Proofreading – eliminate typos
Keep notes on lingering questions or items to check for clarity and accuracy. Review comments from others but stick to your gut instinct. Reread your manuscript.
Narrative voice – Should be unique, consistent, and reader should “hear” the voice.
Setting – When, geography clear, if historical work, introduce to all the customs, mores, and way of life.
Timing – Storyline length, need dates and make clear how much time as passed in the story.
Tense – Most are past tense. All verbs need to be consistent.
Plot – Needs a beginning, middle, and end. Are there too many subplots that distract from the main plot? Can you distill plot to 1-2 sentences? Bring some originality to the story line. Most plots have been written. What makes your story different?
Pacing – Moves along smoothly and evenly. Are the chapters a consistent length? Are there long scenes that take over story line and slow down narrative pace? Does story move along too quickly or confuse reader? The story should slow down at climax.
Characters – How large is the cast? Are all necessary? Are you familiar with the background of each main character? Do you know them? Be aware of names – keep them distinct and not sounding alike.
Point of View – 1st or 3rd person limited. How many characters have POV? Introduce all characters in 1st few chapters and be consistent in how you refer to them. Cycle through POVs regularly. Do not head hop!
Incorporating the unfamiliar – Don’t assume others know what you know. Explain complicated concepts and devices. Example is military terminology, foreign countries, futuristic worlds.
Series or stand alone – If first in a series, drop in element that can be picked up in later books. If stand alone, resolve the plot
The first page – Pulls reader into the story. Make sure the first sentence, first paragraph, first page will entice reader. How many characters are introduced in first page? Sense of setting and mood established.
Give feeling of what to expect in story – Give clear picture of setting, pose questions to create interest. Is the mood scary, suspicious, or upbeat?
The first chapter – Introduce most of the characters, tell the reader what to expect and make them want to read more. A dead body should appear by chapter 3 in a mystery, and a romance should start by page 30.
The ending – Is it satisfying? Is the central plot resolved? Does it wrap everything up?