Self Edit vs ProEdit
That quote pretty much covers it. We spend months – or years – focused on one story, one group of characters, and one plot (for hours at a time). We then take that wondrous piece of art and beat the living crap out of it, word after word. Sometimes our manuscript drops from a nice, solid 90k words, down to a terrifying 72k. Oh, it’s happened, and it hurt.
It sounds terrible but it’s oh-so-needed! First drafts are basically our initial ideas vomited across our lovely Word or Scrivener screens in chunks of wonderment and bubbles of junk. But how should we be going into this lovely process of cleaning up our grody-story?
Most people these days are going the indie route and either self-editing or having a close friend or online acquaintance do the dirty work for them. There are a few problems with self-editing, though. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Self-editing problem 1:
You’re blinded by love! You know your story too well. You know what you’re trying to say and share with the reader, but your mind may be glossing over any potential problems because, good God, you love your story and it’s perfect! Your brain may literally read a sentence so fast (that you already know by heart) that it doesn’t realize your fingers skipped a word! I know you know what I mean.
Self-editing problem 2:
You are reading your own work as a writer. Unless you can turn off your writerly brain so soon after finishing your first draft, you will continue reading your work as a writer and by George, it doesn’t work that way! You are writing for readers, not other writers.You are writing for readers, not other writers. #amediting @LF_Oake #ourwriteside Click To Tweet
Self-editing problem 3:
It kills the spark of romance you initially had for your book. Yes…this is true. After breaking down your own book so much, you will eventually come to lose interest in your own work. You’ll get bored and not want to work on it anymore. The same ideas and words and voice gets tiring.
Now, don’t take this as a “in no way should you edit your own work.” That’s not what I’m saying. YES, by all means, go through your own work at least once. Catch what you can. Make notes. But sending it off to another set of eyes will work wonders. The eyes and brain of someone who will look at your manuscript as a newbie and as a reader instead of a writer will bring out the things you need to focus on to sell the book, now that the story is written.
This is a point where you can either pay for a professional (preferably one who knows your genre and what is being sought after in the market) or, you can reach out to someone who is trying to step up their editing game and build a portfolio. Many of these wonderful editors will work with you for free! You know, an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” sort of thing.
The real point is to have those new eyes on your work who can give it back to you with ideas, problem areas and solutions to make your story better because in the end, as writers, that’s what we’re looking for, right? The best version of our story to share with our readers.@ProWritingAid helps you edit like a pro. #amediting #ourwriteside @LF_Oake Click To Tweet
Looking for a checklist? We’ve got you covered!
For more tips on what to do when your book is finished, check out You Wrote a Book Now What? by Stephanie Ayers.