Today is a guest post for all those who want tips with editing after NaNoWriMo comes to an end, but he wrote an introduction, so without further ado:
How to Manage Your NaNoWriMo Editing? Tips for Novel Writers
Written by Steve Aedy, ghost author and writer for Fresh Essays – team of professionals who provide writing help and editing aid. Steve is an avid reader and wants to try himself in fiction writing. Follow him on Google+.
Well, congratulations, you’ve made through the 30 day NaNoWriMo Challenge! And you’ve survived. However, now you face the somewhat daunting task of editing those 50,000 words.
Can you feel your internal heels digging in at the thought? After all, you know what you wrote. And you recall vividly the gibberish that was typed at the end of those all-nighters, just to hit the day’s word count.
If editing your NaNoWriMo novel seems like an insurmountable task, fear not. Because we’re about to share some advice from the authorities on how to get through the equally challenging task of editing your novel. And, coming out sane on the other end!
If you managed to complete all 50,000 words of the Challenge, then you already know something about how to tackle editing your work. Whatever techniques you used for planning, organization and hitting daily targets in writing your novel will work for editing as well. So, you can simply reverse engineer the process and apply the same steps.
However, if you’re not clear about how to handle editing your opus, follow along the steps described below.
Start at the Start
Perhaps the biggest challenge in even getting started with editing is the seeming enormity of the project. If this is your first time at self-editing, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed as though you’re being swallowed in words. As with writing, this is where using a deadline can play an important part.
Without a deadline an editing project seems never-ending, numbing the mind into inaction. With no end in sight, it may be difficult to generate the enthusiasm needed for editing and a deadline will provide the incentive to complete this next, important step. Motivation comes from the daily achievement of your editing tasks and builds momentum as you go along.
The NaNoWriMo forum Now What? takes place during the months of January and February, with a break over December. If you participate, you’ll enjoy all the benefits and support of the other writers, as well as expert advice and ongoing interaction with agents, editors and publishing staff. And of course, the “buddy system” inherent in a forum is a great tool for staying accountable.
The Steps to Editorial Achievement
Take the time to plan the steps you need to meet your editorial deadline. Schedule your time accordingly and decide on the software or editing tools you may want to use. Check out the editing apps and software recommended on Lifehacker for some ideas.
Start with the outline. Hopefully you’ve followed your outline somewhat in the writing stage. Continuing to do so during editing will help to keep your ideas moving, you’ll be able to spot opportunities to introduce foreshadowing and your pacing and rhythm will be smoother.
Do a little warm up by reviewing character studies and research notes, or reading yesterday’s work. This is like priming the pump and pulls your focus and attention into alignment with the day’s editing goals.
Edit daily. The best tactic for staying on top of your editing is to do some of it every day. As part of your plan, have a daily word count or page count that you’re committed to reaching. Celebrate when you do hit your goal, and adjust for improvement when you don’t. It’s only a yardstick, but effective in clocking progress which will keep motivation topped up.
Print a copy for editorial notes. After your initial proofreading, print a copy and write out your editorial notes on the pages. Revise with these initial improvements to prepare for a critical read through by beta readers.
Have your work critiqued with beta readers. The NaNoWriMo forum is excellent for this purpose. And you can always enlist the help of friends, if they can be impartial and give an honest opinion.
Edit and revise again. After your work has gone through the initial beta reading, edit and revise again based on the feedback received.
Proofread, print a fresh copy and edit once again.
Repeat as necessary until you’re satisfied.
Or, if you’re not interested in self-editing or simply don’t have the time, you can always hire the professional services of an editor. You can find some good recommendations and resources for finding editors in this piece at thecreativepenn.com. Hiring an experienced editor has many benefits, a few of which are:
- A professional editor will be experienced with an objective eye.
- Editors have insider tips and tricks to smooth out your draft.
- They’ll have an eye for specifics within your genre, which an inexperienced self-editor may miss.
- They’ll review your plot and structure with a view to making your novel more publishable.
And to help in the actual process of editing, some tips from the pros:
- Always run a spell check to catch the basic errors in spelling and grammar.
- The initial proofread is also the time to watch for mistakes with homonyms: to, too, two etc.
- The readthrough is a good time to correct any inconsistencies in tense. Double check your dialogue to ensure it remains aligned with the correct tense.
- With your editors’ specs on, watch for repetition of words and ideas. Try using your word processors “find and replace” tab in the editing toolbar to help catch redundancies.
- Remove and replace the “to be” verbs with an active voice to give strength to your writing. Remember to show, not tell.
- Editing is a good time to rediscover your voice, and to ensure it’s well represented in your work. After all, it’s your novel, and should be written in your voice, not someone else’s.
- Find your rhythm by reading aloud. Reading out loud will help to find the cadence of your words. Make adjustments to maintain consistency when irregularities in tempo occur.
- Spot check by selecting random chapters to edit. Taken out of context, random reading helps to see your work more objectively and makes it easier to spot errors.
And there you have the basic steps on how to manage the editing of your NaNoWriMo novel. Like the writing Challenge itself, take it one day at a time, keep your sights on the end goal and before you know it, you’ll be celebrating another major achievement on your path to writing success.