It was Mr. Smarty-pants himself, Albert Einstein, who said it:
“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”
This is true of many, many things. The more I know, the more things this applies to.
It is for this reason that I try to keep an open mind about almost everything. If I learn about a better way to do things, I change up my behavior.
This is true of editing. I self-edit all of my manuscripts, along with a little help from my friends (Beta Readers and Team Typo).
This is in EIGHT passes. I am documenting my passes here for any writers who want some learnin’ on editing. Take it or leave it.
- Clean-up. This is my first pass after my rough draft is finished. Since I dictate my manuscript (using Dragon), there are lots of silly mistakes that make it through. I also notice other silly mistakes when my words are in print. This is a shallow edit. This is an edit that a developmental editor would create. I can change character identities, plot points, or muck about with story. If my book were a clay sculpture, I would have lots of mud under my nails at this point.
- JK Rowling. An early reviewer said that I was a combination of JK Rowling, HG Wells, and CS Lewis. This is very high praise. I have embraced this review as an easy way to describe what my writing is like. Additionally, I have seized upon these authors as phases in my editing. In my JK Rowling pass, I am concentrating on adding magic, adventure, and wonder.
- HG Wells. In this pass, I am focused on adding high-technology.
- CS Lewis. During this edit, I am adding religious themes and symbolism.
- Hemingway. I was recently directed to the Hemingway application
online. Although there is a paid version, I currently use the free version. That might change when I start making some real money with my writing. This app makes sure you are using short sentences and active writing. These keeps you from being too wordy or using big words.
- Grammarly. My next destination is the Grammarly application. This looks at spelling and grammar (as the name implies). This performs better than what you will find in Word or other word-processors. You could use this app earlier in the editing process, but the other steps might call for major changes to the manuscript.
- Beta Readers, Reviewers, and Team Typo. At this point, the manuscript is pretty close to launch. It can be distributed to Beta Readers, Team Typo, and Review Ravagers. If I get important feedback at this stage, I put it into the manuscript.
- Tombstone Edit. I have been away from the story for a couple weeks now. I can go back into it with fresh eyes. This is my last pass before prime time. At this point, I will see if the submitted changes are working with the manuscript as a whole.
Consider joining Team Typo. I have a special soft place in my heart for our legion of elves. These folks receive a free early edition of my next book in exchange for a Typo Report. This can be a marked-up paper copy (I’ll pay the postage!). For those reading on Kindle, the easiest way to mark typos is to bookmark each location and highlight the typo.
More information can be found on the Team Typo page!