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cylemmulo
07-26-2014, 09:11 PM
So I finished my first novel (well more like a novella). It's around 100 pages long, so it's not the longest read. However, now I'm at the point of finishing the first draft, and needing to edit.

I'm curious what people who don't have the money to pay a professional editor do. I have a wife who is better at grammar than I am to help me, though, I don't want to constantly bug her. I use Ginger to help find my little mistakes I missed, as well as I'm brushing up on my grammar to figure out what I've forgotten. I also use Autocrit.com to help sort, and easily find my small writing mistakes.

I'm just wondering if there are any other suggestions people have for editing your novel on the cheap. Thanks for any help!

Jennifer_Laughran
07-26-2014, 09:37 PM
SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITERS is an excellent book on the subject: http://www.amazon.com/Self-Editing-Fiction-Writers-Second-Edition/dp/0060545690

Jamesaritchie
07-26-2014, 10:06 PM
So I finished my first novel (well more like a novella). It's around 100 pages long, so it's not the longest read. However, now I'm at the point of finishing the first draft, and needing to edit.

I'm curious what people who don't have the money to pay a professional editor do. I have a wife who is better at grammar than I am to help me, though, I don't want to constantly bug her. I use Ginger to help find my little mistakes I missed, as well as I'm brushing up on my grammar to figure out what I've forgotten. I also use Autocrit.com to help sort, and easily find my small writing mistakes.

I'm just wondering if there are any other suggestions people have for editing your novel on the cheap. Thanks for any help!

The best recourse is always to learn how to edit your own novel, and, of course, to learn grammar and punctuation. Without such knowledge, chances are an editor wouldn't be much help, anyway.


If you're self-publishing, you just look around for knowledgeable beta readers who can help you with the edit.

If you're planning on trying to sell it commercially, the last thing you want is a professional "editor" messing with your story.

cylemmulo
07-27-2014, 01:10 AM
I'll definitely check that book out, thanks!

blacbird
07-27-2014, 01:46 AM
One piece of advice that may be obvious to you, but we've had plenty of comments here that suggest it isn't obvious to some people:

ALWAYS edit a COPY of your original document (assuming, of course, that it's electronic). Keep the original first draft intact. You might change your mind about something and want to go back to retrieve it.

caw

Dmbeucler
07-27-2014, 04:44 AM
Have you checked into writing groups in your genre? The two I am in have been very useful, finding continuity errors, pacing issues, grammar, spelling mistakes, and so much more. And by finding the places where their stories were flawed or where they accomplished something (like a character growth, or emotion tone) I improved my own writing and I'm a better self editor.

dondomat
07-27-2014, 08:00 AM
The best recourse is always to learn how to edit your own novel, and, of course, to learn grammar and punctuation. Without such knowledge, chances are an editor wouldn't be much help, anyway.
.......

If you're planning on trying to sell it commercially, the last thing you want is a professional "editor" messing with your story.

Absolutely. Just because there's an industry built around every craft and interest, doesn't mean you have to use all the services of this industry. The invisible hands of this slice of the market do not have the goal of making you a successful and independent individual. To the contrary, profits depend on you never learning to do things yourself, never becoming successful by your own efforts.


One piece of advice that may be obvious to you, but we've had plenty of comments here that suggest it isn't obvious to some people:

ALWAYS edit a COPY of your original document (assuming, of course, that it's electronic). Keep the original first draft intact. You might change your mind about something and want to go back to retrieve it.

caw

And send yourself an email with an updated copy at the end of every date.

And from me, basic technical advice: read every chapter in 2-3 different fonts: courier, georgia, times new roman, and at different zooms--this helps fool the eye and brain into seeing it 'for the first time'.


Have you checked into writing groups in your genre? The two I am in have been very useful, finding continuity errors, pacing issues, grammar, spelling mistakes, and so much more. And by finding the places where their stories were flawed or where they accomplished something (like a character growth, or emotion tone) I improved my own writing and I'm a better self editor.

Or 1-2 writer buddies found on sites like Absolute Write or Young Writer's Society. Pooling recourses for the purposes of learning from each other can do absolute wonders.

jeffo20
07-27-2014, 03:09 PM
So I finished my first novel (well more like a novella). Congratulations! This is something to be proud of.


However, now I'm at the point of finishing the first draft, and needing to edit.

I'm curious what people who don't have the money to pay a professional editor do. My feeling is this: if this is your first draft, I would really encourage you to not farm it out to anyone at this point. Hang onto it. Maybe put it away for a few weeks and let your brain recharge. Then YOU should be the one to read through it and hack it up, find what works and what doesn't, make changes, etc., etc. Odds are good that if it's a first draft, it's more than a little shaky in spots (maybe not, though--maybe you write very clean first drafts, I don't know).

My feeling is you should go through it at least one more time yourself before giving it to anyone to work on.

By the way, I guess my other question is this: what are you planning on doing with your novella? Are you going to self-publish it? Because if you're doing that, then I don't know if there's any good way around paying for editing unless you're really good at it (which you say you're not), or have a friend who IS and is willing to do it free/on the cheap.

Congratulations and good luck!

bearilou
07-27-2014, 05:17 PM
And from me, basic technical advice: read every chapter in 2-3 different fonts: courier, georgia, times new roman, and at different zooms--this helps fool the eye and brain into seeing it 'for the first time'.

This is what I do. I also have a live journal set on private to post so I can read it in a different 'environment'. I've also been known to whip it into an .epub format and dump in on my nook.

And depending on the length, I will also read backwards from end to beginning, one paragraph at a time.



what are you planning on doing with your novella? Are you going to self-publish it? Because if you're doing that, then I don't know if there's any good way around paying for editing unless you're really good at it (which you say you're not), or have a friend who IS and is willing to do it free/on the cheap.

Good question. Which ever path you choose will determine what you do next, but give that sucker the best polish you can before moving to the next step. And make sure you understand the pros and cons of either path to publishing you choose.

Marlys
07-27-2014, 05:47 PM
Reading it out loud is also good, especially for finding awkward phrasing and repetition.

If you have a Kindle, you can read it there, too.

JackdeNileth
07-27-2014, 06:52 PM
Reading it out loud is also good, especially for finding awkward phrasing and repetition.
Yeah, or use a program with a text-to-speech feature, like ywriter. You do need a better voice to make it worthwile, though, like British Amy from Ivona (http://www.ivona.com/us/products/voice-amy/). That's how I'm going through the story.
The first pass consists of reading through it, fixing continuity errors, bad sentences, etc... and the second pass is by listening to it. Also helps to notice grammar mistakes that I might have made during the first pass.

cylemmulo
07-27-2014, 08:02 PM
Some of the ideas given are ones that I was thinking, which is good :). I was planning on giving it a week off, then going through as much as I can before starting the next step.

I like the ideas of the different fonts, and having the computer read it to me. I will definitely put those to use. As for writing groups, do you mean going into my genre in the general interest boards, and asking there?

For what I'm planning on doing with the novella, I'm not 100% positive yet. From what I've gathered, novellas are kind of an odd format. I will most likely self publish on kindle singles I think, as well as I have a friend who owns a local bookstore. Otherwise, I'm not totally sure beyond that yet. My goal isn't to make a ton of money, I'm more interested just to see if people like my work. Not that a little side money wouldn't be nice.

Thank you everyone for their input

Bolero
07-27-2014, 11:06 PM
If you haven't already I'd run the spell checker now and then put the first draft away.

Also - when you've done your first edit and read aloud, I'd park it again and come back to it in a month or two, see what you think then.

For continuity, what I do when I am writing is to keep notes as I create things. I keep documents to cover things like place names, people names, place and people descriptions. So I have a table, name in one column and stuff as I make it up in the other column. So first mention of "Suzy" - she strode into the room. Make a note that she strides - so ten pages later she doesn't shuffle - unless of course she is really tired and that is deliberate.
So on your early edit pass, you could create such a table and that would help you check consistency through.

Or other ones to look out for is time - when things happen. And make sure that people don't sit down to breakfast and stand up from lunch.

And room layout - if you go into the level of description where they step out the patio door and the rising sun is shining in their face, then if they are near the patio doors again, they shouldn't be able to look at the sunset.

cylemmulo
07-28-2014, 08:16 AM
I've been keeping comments on my word document to keep continuity, and to note places I thought might need more attention. However, your idea about keeping a sort of bio of my characters is a superb idea! I'm loving all the tips!

chompers
07-28-2014, 09:29 AM
Work from big to small. Meaning tackle the structural, big-picture stuff first -- plot, characterization, pacing, etc.

Then tackle the little stuff next -- sentence structure, flow, rhythm, etc.

blacbird
07-28-2014, 11:11 AM
Work from big to small. Meaning tackle the structural, big-picture stuff first -- plot, characterization, pacing, etc.

Then tackle the little stuff next -- sentence structure, flow, rhythm, etc.

Work from small to big. Tackle the little stuff, sentence structure, grammar, piece by piece. Doing that will help you uncover potentially bigger issues.

Point being: I don't entirely disagree with chompers, but this is not a one-size-fits-all exercise, and you will need to see what works best for you.

caw

Pisco Sour
07-28-2014, 11:39 AM
One piece of advice that may be obvious to you, but we've had plenty of comments here that suggest it isn't obvious to some people:

ALWAYS edit a COPY of your original document (assuming, of course, that it's electronic). Keep the original first draft intact. You might change your mind about something and want to go back to retrieve it.

caw

This! I had to learn this the hard way! Oh, the sweat and suffering...Never again. :)

Tirjasdyn
07-28-2014, 08:05 PM
I find looking at it a different way is best. Print out the whole thing and read through it to edit it. Type the thing back in to force yourself to go line by line.

bearilou
07-28-2014, 08:37 PM
Type the thing back in to force yourself to go line by line.

I do a modified version of this when I find I'm stuck and don't know how to pick up and carry on in a WIP. How odd it never occurred to me to try this as a way to edit something already finished.

I'll have to give that a try.

Tirjasdyn
07-29-2014, 06:51 PM
I do a modified version of this when I find I'm stuck and don't know how to pick up and carry on in a WIP. How odd it never occurred to me to try this as a way to edit something already finished.

I'll have to give that a try.

It's tedious but it works...otherwise I miss all kinds of things.

Runner6
07-29-2014, 08:37 PM
If you're planning on trying to sell it commercially, the last thing you want is a professional "editor" messing with your story.


This is an interesting comment as I have always assumed that every book (okay maybe not every book but certainly every book that I've read or considered reading) had an editor.

Perhaps I am not thinking of an editor in the same way that you are, but as an example: Tay Hohoff, an editor at J.B. Lippincott, worked extensively with Harper Lee (for 2 years) before To Kill A Mockingbird was published. Mockingbird is certainly a commercially successful book.

KTC
07-29-2014, 08:53 PM
I HAVE the money to pay a professional editor. However, it is something I would NEVER EVER do. Edit it yourself, to the best of your ability. You might try to get a couple beta readers to look at it, but edit it yourself.

KTC
07-29-2014, 08:54 PM
This is an interesting comment as I have always assumed that every book (okay maybe not every book but certainly every book that I've read or considered reading) had an editor.

Perhaps I am not thinking of an editor in the same way that you are, but as an example: Tay Hohoff, an editor at J.B. Lippincott, worked extensively with Harper Lee (for 2 years) before To Kill A Mockingbird was published. Mockingbird is certainly a commercially successful book.

Publishing houses have in-house editors. THEY edit books AFTER they are acquired. Obviously, the writer does not pay for this editing.

KTC
07-29-2014, 08:56 PM
I should add here...if you are self-publishing, you SHOULD get an editor. Either paid or otherwise.

Runner6
07-29-2014, 09:05 PM
Publishing houses have in-house editors. THEY edit books AFTER they are acquired. Obviously, the writer does not pay for this editing.

Sure but the point of the post I responded to had nothing to with cost, but that an editor wouldn't help the commercial viability of a book.

KTC
07-29-2014, 09:12 PM
Sure but the point of the post I responded to had nothing to with cost, but that an editor wouldn't help the commercial viability of a book.

Sure, but you seemed to think someone was saying every book doesn't have an editor...which wasn't the case. Books get edited once they get acquired.

cylemmulo
07-31-2014, 06:37 AM
How expensive are cheaper editors usually?

summontherats
07-31-2014, 06:43 PM
Some of the ideas given are ones that I was thinking, which is good :). I was planning on giving it a week off, then going through as much as I can before starting the next step.

I haven't seen anyone else comment on this, but I generally wait about ~2 months before I do my first big edit. (I just write short stories or start on another project while I wait.) The longer you wait, the better you edit. Stuff you've written a week ago is still familiar--you'll remember why you wrote it, how you felt when you wrote it, and what you were trying to accomplish.

The longer you wait, the greater your chance of going, "Whoa, what was I thinking? That doesn't make sense at all!"

dondomat
08-01-2014, 04:49 PM
How expensive are cheaper editors usually?

About $100-$200 a book, I think, last time I researched about last winter. Google it. There are threads in various forums, including Goodreads. Book-loving retirees for whom this is a hobby more than a career may do it even for like $70, if they like the genre and topic.