Monday, June 15, 2015

On Monday, June 15, 2015 by Vicki Lesage in ,
A while back, I shared some "behind the scenes" editing tips. You should definitely check those out if you're considering submitting your manuscript to VMP, or really if you're considering submitting it anywhere! You want your manuscript to be as polished as possible before someone else lays eyes on it. If you're submitting it for publishing, you'll increase your chances of getting accepted. If you're self-publishing, you'll make your editor's job a lot easier (and yes, even if you're self-pubbing you need to have someone else edit your work)!

Below are a few extra tips to add to my original article!

Behind the Scenes: Book Editing
Photo credit: J. Paxon Reyes / Foter / CC BY-NC

Remove excess words

there was, there were, it was
Ex. "There was a tiny chair in the corner of the living room" could be shortened to "A tiny chair sat in the corner of the living room."

guess, figure, decide, start, try, manage, proceed
Ex. "She started walking to the restaurant" can usually be shortened to "She walked to the restaurant"
Ex. "She managed to open the door" can usually be shortened to "She opened the door" unless there's a particular point to why the door was so hard to open.

just, only, all/all of, very, that
Try taking these words out of your sentence and see if you miss them. Sometimes you need them. Most of the time you don't.

Replace weak words with stronger words

... and about a hundred more, but you get the idea!

Show, don't tell

heard, saw, felt
Ex. "She heard her mother yelling" could be "'Stop hitting your sister!' her mother yelled."
Ex. "He felt the room grow hot" can usually be "The room grew hot" (or of course, even better, "The temperature of the room rose to a sweltering hundred degrees, as perspiration circles formed under his armpits.")

Eliminate unnecessary detail

Ex. "She opened the car door with her right hand and carried the coffee cup with her left, and then ran into the house," could be "She hopped out of the car and dashed into the house, nearly splashing her coffee as she ran."

A lot of times people say their character "held it with their hands"... as opposed to holding it with your shoulder or your knee? 99% of the time you hold something with your hands so you can usually cut stuff like that, unless there's a particular reason you want to draw attention to their hands.

These examples are just to illustrate my personal pet peeves. The "befores" need help, but even some of the "afters" could be improved. The idea is to illustrate my point, and you can use your creativity from there!