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38

Agents Typically, you would begin querying agents. Agents offer a number of benefits: Some will help you polish up your novel further They know the marketplace and have access to editors at publishing houses. Many publishing houses these days refuse to look at unsolicited manuscripts sent by the author. If they're good at their job, they'll have an ...


35

You could try reading the final draft out loud either to yourself or to another person. (That's what I have always had my own children do when they're working on school essays.) Reading out loud slows you down so that you are less likely to read over a duplicated word and it will be more obvious when a word is left out. It is also a good method for ...


25

Because you can't see your own mistakes. You know, in your head, what you want your story to accomplish. You know who you want to end up with whom. You know who you want to punish, and who you want to see succeed. You know which characters you like and which are your villains. But the challenge is writing your story so that anyone else who reads it sees ...


22

While it's not possible for your specific predicament, the question you actually ask is much broader than that. Put the writing away long enough to forget your state of mind while you were writing it, then re-read it. For some people this could be as short as a day, but I have to wait closer to a month before re-reading what I've written for all the subtle ...


22

I haven't done actual editing, but I've done a fair bit of critique and review. I think the issues are pretty much the same. Standard proviso: everybody has their own system. Of writing, of reading, of editing. Obviously your system isn't "wrong," even if nobody else does it; nor is it "right" merely because you may find that everybody does it. But that's ...


21

Read from the bottom up. It derails the comprehension so it's much easier to see individual words, and you catch many more typos and dropped words.


18

Here are my reasons: As the author, you are too close to the material. Writing which may seem clear in your mind could be confusing to the audience. Small mistakes in grammar and poorly-worded sections need a second set of eyes to be discovered. Advise the novice writer to re-read some of their writing after setting it aside for a month or more. I find ...


18

There's no point in polishing work that you're not going to keep for the final product. I'd work through at the macro level first, cutting/adding/moving big chunks, and then I'd go back and look at the medium level stuff (style and flow, etc.), and then polish up whatever's left. That said, my first drafts are pretty clean. If your spelling and ...


17

Print your work. I've found that proof-reading a hard-copy is much more effective than proof-reading off a computer screen.


15

While I can't be sure of your exact context, the things you've listed seem entirely reasonable activities for the role of "editor" (in a general case). Whether or not it's appropriate for the role of "reviewer" depends on what powers a reviewer has in your organisation. (Keeping this in mind, I'll answer in terms of how I see the role of "editor", since it ...


15

I work as an editor for three different houses and also have books published with two houses, so this question is right up my alley! When it comes to an author's style, you have a lot of leeway. When an editor reads over the manuscript, they're going to make sure that what you've written is understandable and isn't going to throw your readers for a loop. If ...


15

Here are a few editing tips that I use when going through manuscript for publishers: Do a search for the word “that.” Read the sentence aloud. If the sentence makes sense without the word “that,” please delete this word. Do a search for the word “it.” If at all possible, replace the word “it” with a more concrete noun or phrase. Example: It didn’t matter. ...


15

A significant proportion of agents and editors still want submissions in Standard Manuscript Format, which includes using a serif monospace font such as Courier. Many of them have become less fussy about the particular font and will also accept a proportional font such as Times Roman. However, in no case should you use a non-serif font, or anything that you ...


15

Let it sit and start a new one. Do not touch it for at least two weeks. Maybe even longer, you have to get distance. Do not give your raw draft to your beta readers. You do not want to let them point out all the obvious mistakes, which you can easily find yourself when reading it with that distance. Because it is likely that they will stop there (not ...


15

John Smithers' advice is good, but I'd add a few details (and leave it for longer than three weeks!) Before you put the MS away, make a first pass at your query letter, as well. This is good because the query needs some time away from your eyes just like the MS does, and because writing the query can really help you figure out what the book has going for ...


15

I just finished working on a 150-page Corporate Style Guide, so while I can answer this question in great detail if you want, my answer is not for WritersSE, I think. AP and Chicago are mostly about the construction of writing — when to use a semi-colon, how to capitalize, the placement of someone's title. A Corporate Style Guide, also called ...


14

For inconsequential changes you can just edit it. For anything substantial ("I meant to say I disagree with..."), I've often seen an explicit notation: "Edited to add: ..." "Edit: ...", or the like. If there have been relevant comments, you can include a timestamp for the edit so people will see it was after the comment. This is what I do.


14

For fiction that can accommodate different POVs, dividing those up per author not only addresses this problem but can be a feature. For cases where you want a unified voice, if you can't get a tough editor like Lauren Ipsum suggested, try having the authors edit each other's sections. In technical-writing teams I've found that this drives the material ...


13

You can read the story aloud. Some errors are better found when you hear them. You can also record your own voice and listen to it later. Next, is to have somebody else read the story.


13

Editors don't get involved until a contract is assigned and your manuscript is sent to them for editing. The amount of leeway you have regarding their changes is going to vary on a couple things. The first being your reasoning. Why don't you want to go with their change? If you have a justifiable reason (ie not "I just don't like it) then they'll most likely ...


13

There are different levels of editing which are lumped together under the same term, which might be what's confusing you. "Syntax glitches and spelling" is line editing, aka proofreading, sometimes called copyediting. Similar to this is fact-checking, where the editor is looking up anything based in reality or researching anything made up for plausibility. ...


12

It is always a good idea for readers to provide feedback to the authors. When authors read their work they don't get the same experience as the reader. Most books' authors will have a way for you to contact them about their books. You said it has a forum; you should see if that is an appropriate place for suggestions on the book. If the author has a personal ...


11

You can certainly get pretty far by using an online critique group. There are two problems you'll find with such a service: It's hard to get people who can commit to reading a whole book. The quality of reviews and feedback that you get can vary a lot, and many reviewers won't tell you anything very useful. When you hire a professional editor, problem #1 ...


11

When in doubt, ask yourself: "Would my readers care if they didn't know about this change? Would they think I was trying to deceive them by not pointing it out?" If the answer to either of these is yes, note the change. If not, and you're simply making the reading experience smoother and better, make the change and leave it be. I agree with Monica's ...


11

I use a Mac. I use the built-in Text-to-Speech feature to read back aloud the words I have written. It is by far superior to reading yourself because the brain sometimes skips things right in front of your eyes! And the more tired your eyes, the ears usually hear better! You can achieve similar results if you use a PC.


11

The last line or lines should have some reason for being there. They can: be suspenseful ("What are you doing here?") be funny ("Tinkerty-tonk," I said, and I meant it to sting.) close a scene (She slammed the door behind her, hard enough to make the glass rattle in the windowpanes.) bring resolution to an arc of any size (He held John's eyes for a long ...


11

It's hard to be too specific without seeing your writing, and I certainly have nothing close to an algorithm for you, but I was caught by your idea of reverse-engineering an outline. Does that mean that you didn't write from an outline to begin with? If so, and if you're having trouble with organization (as I assume you are, since you mention order, topic ...


10

A lot of the time it comes down to one thing: consistency. If your whole text is made of sentences like this, then it can be seen as your style. If you pepper your text with just a few of these, they will be more likely to become an editor's target, and reasonably so. Make sure you differentiate between actual style and just doing something because, "you ...


10

It sounds like you are struggling between two possiblities: Fixing typos but having your concentration on the forward movement of your writing broken, or Moving on but facing a daunting task of catching all of your errors during editing and re-writing. Personally I would be driven crazy by not fixing a mistake I knew was there, and that would break my ...


10

When I was doing work as an Editor I loved the Courier font, or any fixed pitch font for that matter. As nice as Times New Roman looks, after reading 100+ first pages it starts to wear on the eyes. A fixed pitch font just makes it easier to read page after page and in the end readability wins when it comes to formatting and fonts. But as for what an editor ...



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