It’s so exciting when after months of painstakingly writing a story, your baby, you can finally type those two little words that have so much impaction…The End. All the sweat and tears…all of the doubts…all of those times waking up in the middle of the night with a new plot or while you are driving down the road…all the times your characters came into your head to completely change the direction of the story against your will…all of this for those two words. All worth every second of the journey.
But alas, you are not done.
Not even close.
Now you must edit. It’s about shaping and molding…dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s if you will. Ensuring it shines.
I am sure there are many important issues to one must look for but I am going to list my top 5. And by all means, if you have a particular one not listed, please leave it in the comments.
1 Repeating words. As in using one such as ‘said’…she said, “blah blah blah” … he said “I don’t say blah blah blah” (sorry I couldn’t help myself as Hotel Transylvania is my one of my grandson’s favorite movies and if you haven’t watch it, why not?). There are tons of different words to use instead of said. I will look up synonyms of ‘boring’ words such as said, like, mad, etc
2 Grammar usage. You can’t go mixing up present tense with past tense. You will throw the reader for a loop.
3 Spell check. And this is not full proof by any stretch. You really have to read line for line. I found the word I meant to use ‘is’ was ‘us’ in a couple different places along the way. Spell check will not pick that up as an error.
4 Ensure your characters’ traits stay consistent throughout the story. I found I had inadvertently changed my heroine’s eyes from emerald to brown two scenes later.
5 Make sure your timeline stays consistent, especially if you are writing a series.
And with writing a series, keeping everything straight across several books is even more of a challenge. I keep a notebook for my series that contains each major character’s page, minor characters and some pertinent info for them, places as in a restaurant or hospital or even graveyards, and pages of major events that happened within each book. It may be a lot to contend with, but a evil necessity in order to ensure the books contain accurate information throughout the series.
What are your top editing issues you look for?