Coastal Authors Network strives to share tips and guidelines for writing among its members. This blog is dedicated to do the same for those reading it. All members of our organization will take turns imparting information they feel is helpful to authors and aspiring authors. It will range from grammar to marketing and everything in between.
I’m going to start the ball rolling with one of my pet peeves. Editing. Yes, everyone needs to have an editor if you plan to publish a book. If you are independently published this is even more important. It’s a turn off to readers when they read a book that contains poor grammar or lacks continuity. Example of continuity: In chapter one the protagonist grew up in Idaho, but in chapter thirty-two he returns to his hometown in Montana.
First you self-edit your manuscript multiple times then you allow one or more people to look over your work to catch those pesky mistakes you miss. As the author you know what is supposed to be written and that’s what you see; not necessarily what is written on paper or screen.
Here are a few tips to help with self-editing.
1) Look for one or two things with each pass. Example: I use the words just, was, and that way too often. With the help of the find function in my electronic editor I check the number of times each word is used and where to find it to make changes.
2) Read your manuscript out loud. You’d be surprised what you’ll spot. Some sentences appear fine in the written word, but when said out loud they become awkward.
3) Instead of starting with page one start with the last page, the last paragraph. Read paragraph by paragraph from the bottom to the top. It helps keep you from skimming a document you’ve probably read dozens of times.