Edit Without Mercy

Miss Benison gives some great advice for the editing stage of writing your book. Editing can be a long, drawn out process.  It’s where you learn to shape and reshape words, sentences, plots, and characters. As Benison writes, this is where you need to:

Be ruthless and objective. Don’t think of the book as your own. Think that it belongs to a complete strangers. Don’t be afraid of the words “Cut” and “Delete”, in editing, they could be your best friends.

The idea of deleting may be unthinkable to some writers.  We all know what things aren’t working.  They probably never did. If they can’t be fixed or moved, deleting words, sentences, or whole paragraphs will often make a writer think, “Wow, that’s so much better.” Force yourself to evaluate your writing as someone else would. Don’t let yourself rationalize away parts of your story you know aren’t right.

Benison also writes about focusing on different aspects during each edit. Focus on grammar one time, details (too much or too little) during another.

At some point you may consider finding beta readers, because no matter how many times your review your manuscript, you’ll miss something. Then you’ll decide on whether or not you want an editor (other than you) to edit your work.  Separating yourself from your work can be hard.  Sometimes someone else can do it better.

Editing isn’t easy and it’s time-consuming. One of the best pieces of advice I read somewhere went something like, “Find part of your story that just pops: You know, every word is perfect and clicks with each other. It’s the example of what you want your voice to be. This is the standard the rest of the story should rise to meet.”

That’s a high standard, and no book is perfect to the author or all readers. If you set your standard as high as possible, however, you’ll end up with one amazing story.

Categories: Books, Writing | Tags: | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Edit Without Mercy

  1. Pingback: Edit Without Mercy | Toni Kennedy : A Writing Life

  2. jaimiengle

    Looking forward to reading your edited manuscript! Thanks for reaching out…


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