Ah, that word so evocative of heartache and worry – EDITING!
I am currently editing the second book in a series, and it is hard. I keep putting it off and doing other things.
Making soup, taking photographs of random insects, writing Sestinas, and cutting my own hair. Anything except editing my work.
I asked myself why, and replied, ‘Because it is hard work and because it feels like I am slicing bits of my own flesh off each time I cut a sentence or paragraph.’
But deep down I know it is necessary to prune and hone my narrative to make it the best it can be. So I got together a list of what to look for when I edit.
If I have missed anything out, please do let me know!
Editing – Some things to look out for and check:
Over long sentences that would be more dramatic or effective if they were more concise. (Did you see what I did there?)
Choose the right/appropriate word.
Get rid of unnecessary repetition of words and or ideas.
Use appropriate similes to enrich the narrative. Get rid of inappropriate or redundant similes.
Typos. Grammatical errors. Punctuation.
Tighten the language. Depending on what genre you are writing in, make sure your sentence length reflects the mood and pace of the narrative.
Are your characters believable?
Is your dialogue naturalistic?
Do you tell too much?
Does your story have a strong beginning?
Is the storyline/plot believable?
Is the ending satisfactory? Does it make sense with the rest of the story?
Does your story get stodgy around the middle?
Do incidental characters add anything to the plot? If not, erase them.
Is the setting described well enough?
Is the point of view consistent?
Are there scenes that can be cut?