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Self-Editing Tips for New Writers

Professional editing is expensive to afford. Most writers are not Stephan King or J.K. Rowling. We probably cannot afford an editor to look through our crappy work and no, editing is not solely for checking your grammar. Please refer to my previous blog for an introduction to what editing really is.

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Previously I talked about my editing process for a webnovel mass release. If you have not read that blog, I suggest you refer to it first. In this blog, I will be covering some tips for self-editing on the go.

Disclaimer: Self-Editing is not advisable for new writers who are still struggling to understand the basics of writing techniques. Please teach yourself the basics of writing before attempting to self-edit. Alternatively, pay for an editor's service to learn from them for at least the first few chapters of the book you intend to release and reference their editing pointers to edit everything else.

Self-editing is a compromise on quality for budget. This blog is only for people who really cannot afford professional services. Please note that this is merely a guide from someone who has paid for professional editing, learned the craft of writing, been writing for over ten years, has edited for other writers and is making a free e-course online with no professional writing certifications from universities. Do not come to me after following the tips and blame me for your 1-star reviews on terrible writing after self-editing if you did not source for a professional editor. You deserve it.

Ready? Let's begin.

Tip #1: Forgetting the Story

Love is blind and writers have egos. When you self-edit, you need to stop being in love with your own creation and treat it like a stranger to make the most accurate judgement without biased feelings.

It's good to let the completed story rot away until you've completely forgotten most of what you've written before you get to editing it. I cannot remember how long it took for me to get to editing the completed manuscript of My Wife is an E-Ghost! and by the time I found the time, I'd completely forgotten the content.

It was a blessing in disguise that I forgot everything because, in the time that I forgot about it, I no longer had any attachments to what I wrote. With a clear vision and disgust for my lack of quality in the writing, I ended up rewriting a lot of scenes in the book, making it the quality paperback that it could be on Amazon. You can compare the Amazon paperback with what's on Goodnovel that is unedited to know the difference I'm referring to.

Tip #2: If in Doubt, Delete

When writing, I mentioned previously about writing with purpose in this blog. If it does not serve a purpose to the plot or development, delete the scene. It is likely a filler. If the scene is confusing, it is probably a good time to delete it and rewrite the section.

However, if you think the entire book is a mess and you want to delete it, I suggest archiving it first. Many times, writers who self-edit come to realise the ideas they want to portray don't live up to their expectations due to their lacking skills when they wrote it. That's actually very normal. If this is you, rejoice at getting a new opportunity to create something better. You're growing as a writer.

Tip #3: Less is More (Pacing)

Are you using too many words to get a simple message across? Do you have to read a sentence more than once to understand what you're trying to convey? If so, you should edit that section and rewrite it in a manner that even the dumb can understand.

However, if you are an underwriter who constantly struggles to meet the minimum word requirement for publication, ask yourself if you are summarising scenes with a 'tell' when you should be fleshing it out in a 'show'. It's a basic thing to look out for but not many new writers understand the difference. If you have the time, watch this live stream where I edit live the second draft that my co-writer Aina sent me. I included reasons for certain changes and how I find those places for edit.

Don't forget to subscribe if you have not! I'm trying to get to 500 subscribers on Youtube so that I can get the community post function.

Tip #4: Be Your Worst Enemy

Before you can be a writer, you must first be a reader. As a reader, you are entitled to have as many opinions as you want. Think of yourself as a paying reader who paid a premium price for what you are reading in the editing stage and ask yourself if you like reading what you're editing.

If you don't think what you're currently reading in the editing stage is worth a million dollars, don't expect anyone else to think that your book will be worth buying. When you edit, you want the book to be completely satisfactory for the reader in you before you share it with other readers. Edit until you can't find a single thing to be unsatisfied about.

If you cannot satisfy yourself (and I'm not talking about the ego in you), you're not ready to release your work to the wild world of merciless reviewers.

In Conclusion...

If you cannot be your worst critic, you cannot self-edit. Find someone to do it so that you can at least hate someone else for the truth you need to hear.

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