Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 5

Since this little editing series is clearly getting away from me, I'm just going to make these links to the previous entries a permanent fixture in the beginning of each one.  Yay for easy access! Part 1:  Look it up!  Part 2:  Read it out loud.  Part 3:  Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.  Part 4:  Consistency, consistency, consistency!And now, introducing...5) Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Have I mentioned I love puns? Anyway...A dialogue tag is a little verb that assigns speech to a character.  Here's a great article on them that's definitely worth the read, but I'm going to go over them in general terms.  I will also assume that whoever is reading this is reasonably skilled at writing and is now in the editing process.  This is, after all, an editing tips post, and I'm assuming that we're working with a finished manuscript and it's being edited and cleaned up.  I'm a big proponent of writing what...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 4

Whoa! Someone's on a blogging roll now! Part 1 of this series of entries on how to do a great job of editing your manuscript to ready it for publication (self-pub or traditional publishing, makes no matter to me), discussed looking up things you don't know, or verifying information. Part 2 was all about looking like a crazy person (hey, if you're a writer, you already hear voices in your head...) and reading your work out loud to yourself to catch errors, especially in dialogue. Part 3 went over having someone who really knows what they're doing look your manuscript over. And part 4 is about...4)  Consistency, consistency, consistency! Um, okay, but what the heck does that even mean? One way to interpret that is to write consistently (a bit every day) and edit consistently as well.  And that's awesome advice, but that's not how I mean it.Because this series is about editing, I'm begging you to use versions of...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 3

To recap, the first tip for doing a good job on editing your own manuscript encouraged you lovely writers to look it up.  The second one wanted you to read your manuscript out loud to yourself. Onward to the third one!3) Have someone who knows what they're doing read it.And by that, I mean a professional editor, or a beta reader, or a critique group in your local writer's association, or some form of one of these things. I can't tell you the number of times I (and my fellow editors...yes, we talk about this stuff) have heard some variation of:  "Thanks, but I can't afford [your services] right now, so I'll have my friend who's an English major/English teacher/blogger friend/sister in high school who gets straight A's in English/etc. read it over for me. That's pretty much the same thing as what you do, right?"There's a reason we charge what we do, and that's because we know what to look...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 2

So my first tip in this series was to look things up if you don't know them.  Seems intuitive enough, right?  Well, my second tip for effectively editing your own work might not be as obvious...2)  Read it out loud.I mean exactly what this says...read your work out loud to yourself.  Or you can read it out loud to some lucky person you've suckered into listening.  Doesn't really matter.  Just make sure you read it--ALL of it--out loud.  Slowly. Why do this, you ask?  Won't this take forever? Yes, it can.  But reading your manuscript aloud to yourself can help you find errors, particularly of the kind that result in wonky-sounding sentences, that you wouldn't find otherwise.  Trust me on this.  Something about hearing it for real rather than in your head makes you process the words in a different way.  If it sounds strange out loud, it sounds strange on paper and you can fix it.  This is especially effective...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 1

In this new year, I'd like to do more to help my fellow writers.  I've always been inspired by the lovely Susan Kaye Quinn, who has always been so open to assisting other authors who ask for it.  She even compiled a new ebook that combines a series of blog entries (along with new material) to help folks make up their mind whether they want to self-publish or not, and how to do just that. But what to help other authors with, exactly?  What skill set do I have that I can use for the greater good?Well, I'm an editor.  A real-life professional one.  So we'll start there.  I'll give a few credentials to start...I'm contracted with a mid-size publisher to edit with them. I do free-lance editing, as well as critiquing in various forms for people.  I've also been part of a team that accepts/rejects online submissions to an online story archive.  So I've been editing in some form...
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