I have been carrying out the final edits on the latest John Blizzard crime novel before sending it off to my publishers The Book Folks and an insight into my thought process might prove interesting.
I love the intensity and focus involved in going through every page, every line, every word, to make sure that each one is as good as it can be.
So, what does editing entail? Part of it is about the big stuff – does the plot work, are there story lines that need better explanation, does everything make sense? Is the timeline right? Is the pace right?
Also, has the reader got the information they need to understand the story or have you given them far too much detail, much of which does not really need to be there? Do any of the characters mysteriously change their name half- way through? Have you got the grammar right? Have you corrected any wrong spellings and pieces of rogue punctuation?
I love examining every word and asking if it is doing its job. Is it needed, is it a case of overwriting to keep the word count up, is it the right word in the right place, would a different one be better? Are the spellings right, is the grammar clunky? Does the dialogue actually sound like real people speaking?
Although editing is a very technical exercise, there is one test that I value about all others – if I forget as I edit that I wrote the novel and become engaged with the story, I know that I have got it right.
* I have teamed up with my daughter Laura, a skilled editor and manuscript assessor, to provide manuscript assessments. Should you be interested in finding out more, then feel free to drop me a line and we can discuss your needs. For further details, you can contact email@example.com
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