13 Resources to Make Editing Your Novel Easier

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As if learning the craft of writing a novel isn’t difficult enough, after it’s finished you’ll need to edit it. If you’re going to be traditionally published, you’ll probably work with an editing staff to make your work marketable.

But before it gets to that point, you have to get it past the slush pile – that means doing a lot of self-editing first.

Of course, you may choose to go the indie author route and self-publish. No need to rise out of a slush pile, just a need to catch a reader’s eye out there in the big world. Sounds pretty simple.

But before you catch a reader’s eye (and you want to make a good impression, right?), you need to have a great story – that means doing a lot of self-editing and perhaps hiring a professional as well.

No matter what you do, if you want to be read and have those readers give you great reviews, spread the word and buy your other books, you have to face the red pen. You must edit your manuscript.

Thankfully there are many resources available to help from blogs to books to videos. Here are 11 resources that will make editing just a little easier on you.

  1. Editing Your Novel: High Level Story Read Through by Joanna Penn – In this video, with transcript, Joanna explains some of the process she went through editing her first draft of Pentecost from weaving in back story to checking for consistency.
  1. A Perfectionist’s Guide to Editing: 4 Stages by Jami Gold – In this blog post Jami narrows our focus from revising the big picture to nailing down those pesky words that need to be just a little stronger.
  1. Proofreading & Editing Tips: A compilation of advice from experienced proofreaders and editors – This article is just what it says, a list of tips from general proofing to content editing.
  1. Copy-Editing And Beta Readers by Joanna Penn – In this blog post Joanna shares how she worked with beta readers and what benefits she found from their feedback.
  1. No Really: Kill Your Clichés by Leslie Wilson – This blog post takes a humorous look at how clichés can hurt your writing.
  1. Do You Copy? Tips on Copy Editing Your Own Work by Janice Hardy – In this blog post Janice shares several concrete examples of common problems such as tense issues, parallel series difficulties and ambiguous pronouns.
  1. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty – In this book Mignon helps writers understand complex grammar concepts by using simple examples and memory devices.
  1. 10 Actions You Can Take to Improve Your Proofreading by Randall Davidson – This blog post is rather on the nose with simple tips that include slowing down, reading out loud and asking for help.
  1. 10 Grammar Rules You Can (and Should!) Ignore! By Tracy O’Connor – In this blog post Tracy gives us permission to break those “hard and fast rules” like split infinitives and ending a sentence with a preposition… only when it makes the writing sound natural, of course.
  1. A Good Edit Would’ve Fixed That by April Hamilton – In this blog post April gives several concrete examples of how to fix problems such as using internal monologue for omniscient exposition.
  1. 5 Essential Tips on Self-Editing by Catherine Ryan Hyde – In this blog post Catherine reminds writers to use spell check, but don’t rely on it, as well as four other very useful tips.
  1. Blogosphere Trends + Handling High Word Counts this is a great guest post on Problogger by Kimberly Turner on how to trim the fat in your writing.
  1. When Editing & Critiquing, Check Your Personal Opinions At The Door the title says it all. A great post by April Hamilton of Indie Author.

Surprise! Here are a few bonus articles I’ve written myself (just in case you need a little more help ;)):

  1. Paid and Free Editing Software For Manuscripts — the best editors are human, but they can be costly. Cut those costs by using software to find your mistakes before sending it to an editor. I’ve listed several, including a quick review, here.
  2. Sandwich Critiquing this is perhaps my favorite post, giving you a helpful technique to use when you are asked to critique someone else’s not-so-perfect manuscript.
  3. Editing With or Without a Budgetmore helpful tips on how to use money to learn how to edit
  4. The Art of Critiquing receiving criticism is difficult, especially when the person giving it doesn’t give you helpful details you can actually use to improve your work. This post will get you thinking of specifics to address when giving criticism to someone else.

Editing is unavoidable and can be painful, but it doesn’t need to be impossible. These are only a few of the resources I’ve found. What about you? What resources and tips have you picked up as you’ve gone through the editing process?

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10 thoughts on “13 Resources to Make Editing Your Novel Easier

  1. […] Let’s be honest — one of the biggest challenges for people when writing isn’t the actual writing. It’s editing. So much so that some newbie writers think editing is something done by someone else. But long before it gets to that “editor” at Publisher Inc., you have to do your own editing. Virginia Ripple is a writer, and she has a website called “Writer on a Shoestring Budget”. Catchy. And one of the big writing tip websites leveraged a reprint of an earlier version of a post about editing, but her main website has an updated version (13 Resources to Make Editing Your Novel Easier). […]

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