Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 11

Welcome back to our (ir)regularly scheduled programming! As always, the links to the other parts in this series are at the bottom of the page.This is Part 11: Sit on it.No, I don't mean that in a weird rude way. We, as authors/writers/whatever you want to call yourself, are generally too close to our own writing to get any perspective.  You know how when you read a book (doesn't matter what kind) and can pick out errors? That's because you're a set of fresh eyes on it. And with our own manuscripts, there comes a time when you're literally unable to continue editing it because you're too close to the story, characters, and everything else.  At this stage, it's extremely frustrating--and bad for your manuscript--to keep going. Trust me on this. So, in order to get something close to a fresh set of eyes when you're the only one around to edit your manuscript, or before you send it to an editor you've hired,...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 10

Things were getting out of hand with listing the links at the top of each post for the previous posts, so I've moved them to the bottom. Don't worry, they're still there.When I started this, I never thought I'd reach this many posts on tips for self-editing, but here's Part 10: Editing and Writing Reference BooksThis was a logical progression. After all, I use editing references when I'm editing and when I'm writing, and I thought that since there are so many out there that you guys would appreciate a look at what I use.Is this the be-all-end-all of writing/editing guides? Hardly. I find new ones occasionally, but these are the books I keep going back to. And if you have suggestions or have a favorite one you use, I'd love to hear about it! Post in the comments to share with everyone.Here I've picked my five favorites, and I'll nutshell them for you in terms of what I like...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 9.5

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!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.Part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire!Part 8: Editors Aren't PerfectI had quite a few that I thought would be helpful, so here's the second half of Part 9: FSEs (Frequently Seen Errors)Men who sound like womenAs a woman who frequently writes male perspectives, it's a (fun) challenge to get in their heads and write from their point of view. But we've collectively read so many stories where the male characters are basically women with penises. So, if you're writing a man, try very hard to see things from their perspectives. How do they think? A man who is describing a woman's clothing would notice different things than a woman would--is the dress tight, pink, and short? He's not going to notice that...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 9

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!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.Part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire!Part 8: Editors Aren't PerfectHere's Part 9: FSEs (Frequently Seen Errors)I was chatting with some friends in the freelance editing world recently, and the subject of common mistakes we see over and over in our various projects came up. Basically, these were frequently seen errors (I'll call them FSEs because I like to throw an acronym in now and then) that we saw in manuscripts--grammar, spelling, punctuation, plot, pacing, phrasing, you name it. We've all been doing this a while, so we notice trends.And I thought that since this is a series on how to self-edit, it could maybe do some good in helping folks see if they're doing any of these things that drive editors crazy.  Because a...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 8

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!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.Part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire!Welcome to Part 8: Editors Aren't Perfect.I'm often asked whether anything trips me up as an editor. And the answer is, unequivocally, YES. There are just some things that, even after repeated hammerings-in, just don't make it into my thick scull.I'm not afraid to admit that I don't know everything related to writing, but that's why I own copies of several different editing and/or style guides.But what stumps me? What's bookmarked and dog-eared in my editing reference books?I'll tell you.Keep in mind that these are just a few things, and, for the sake of brevity, I'm not going to go into detail on the correct meanings or usage of them--feel free to look those up, though I might...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 7

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!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.This is part 7: Adverbs--Kill it with fire! Or, as Stephen King says in On Writing: "The road to hell is paved with adverbs."Apply adverbs here...That might sound like a little extreme, but trust me, adverbs are not your friend. What's an adverb? It's basically the equivalent of what an adjective is to a noun, but it's a word that describes or modifies another adverb, adjective or, most commonly, a verb--how something is done. Often--but not always--they end in "ly".He walked slowly.  How did he walk? Slowly.She talked quietly.  How did she talk? Quietly.You get the idea.So what's the problem with adverbs? Description is good, right? And I'm always on everyone about showing, not telling (*maniacal laughter* You just wait...there'll be an entry...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 6.5

Because it's not often that the world says, "Here's a real-life example of that thing you're always talking about! Have at it!", I'm doing a little bonus post here for you lovely readers.The awesome Dear Abby has a letter up that, I think, a lot of people could have written nowadays. And, quite frankly, this exact letter is why I'm writing this series on editing your own stuff.  The full text of the letter (and Abby's response) is below, though the link back to the actual letter is above, so I'm not plagiarizing, I promise.DEAR ABBY: My friend's husband has been writing a novel for several years. He just self-published it, and it's available on Amazon. He gave me a copy, asked me to read it and enter a great review on the Amazon page. The problem is the book is filled with misused and misspelled words, and there is missing punctuation. He even switched the names of two characters. (His...
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Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 6

Since it's been a while, before we begin, here are the links to the others in this series. You can also search by the tags.  Either way is fine. 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!Part 5:  Dialogue tag...you're NOT it!This is part six of my series, Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, and this time, I want to drill  into your brains the importance of actually using the word you should be using. Part 6: Pick the right word to say what you mean.This simple task, when employed with your manuscript or article or whatever you're writing, can save you a lot of trouble.  Acquisitions editors will think you're awesome and be more likely to contract your work; your readers will tell their friends to read your work because you're so well-spoken; your grandchildren and great-grandchildren will tell stories...
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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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