Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Editing: Overview

A Necessary Evil

Rebecca Mikkelson, Editor-in-Chief Authors 4 Authors Publishing

Editing. It’s the bane of every author’s existence—aside from the inability to put perfect words to paper the first time. We’ve previously talked about editing before in a nonserial post, but we wanted to talk a little bit more about the more specific parts of editing. Over the next three posts, we’ll talk about some of the biggest parts of your editing passes. 

After each post goes out, we’ll update this post with links for easy navigation.

Cleaning Up Dialogue

I wanted to start with editing your dialogue because it’s simultaneously the easiest and the hardest thing to do. A lot of us struggle writing dialogue in the first place, and now we’ve got to edit to make it better? Gross. In this post I’ll talk about how you don’t need to use dialogue tags all the time and give several examples of how you can use action beats instead, add tone for your characters that make them unique, contexts in which your characters might feel like they’re out of character when they’re not, and purposeful dialogue. 

Cutting the Fat

Ironically, I already cut the fat from this blog series. Originally instead of the three posts, there were going to be four, one of which covered unnecessary words and phrases. In this post, I really practice what I preach, which I think is important if we’re going to be doling out guides for public consumption. Cutting the fat doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get rid of everything, but trimming it down to be more purposeful. In this post I talk about killing your darlings—and what that really means—and when you can combine characters to avoid being redundant, and getting rid of unnecessary words and phrases that are implied by the context or statement in general.

Keeping Track of Characters

I wanted to keep this for the last post because this is a little bit different—it’s more preemptive. Keeping track of your characters will help you edit when it comes down to it, yes, but it will also help you from making the mistakes in the first place. In this post I’ll talk about your characters in general, like where they come from, their physical appearance, and personality traits. It might seem like boring and obvious information when you get down into the nitty gritty of everything, but this will be an invaluable resource for authors and editors alike to keep the mistakes as few as possible. 

Join us in two weeks for our first post in this mini series where I talk about cleaning up your dialogue.

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