More on Self-editing for Fiction Writers

Good self-editing for fiction writers is for keeping your story on track and one way is doing a re-read.  Doing this aloud is even better.  After your terribly mangled first draft divide your story up into clumps of chapters.  Print out each section.  Why print?  I believe you can edit more comfortably by settling back in a chair and using a red pen for corrections.  Spell check lines and grammar lines disappear allowing you to concentrate better.  Your story does look better on paper.  Keep track of each chapter and look for suspense, interest, exposition, etc.  In short, summarize.  Your story should appear like a ‘staircase’ graph, that is slowly going up the risers (suspense, adventure) and flattening out to give readers a breather (stair tread).  A peak/valley graph works well with high points being the suspense/adventure/ excitement and the valleys occur developing the story or moving it along. This can develop your pace and flow.  Many detective stories do this.  As the evidence comes in they have to analyze it, theorize, and plan their next moves.  My firefighter mystery has the fire captain Gerry Ormond and Samantha Markham the arson investigator doing this.

Re-reading also reinforces many things in your mind such as chronological order, names, and titles. It also keeps track of things you may have overlooked or forgotten in your hasty 1st draft: I thought they were there in the day, was it a blue car?  Did she have on a necklace?

You really should do this because you will find stuff.  You don’t want readers tripping over speed bumps.  This self-editing for fiction writers will really help especially after a first draft.

Best-selling novelist Michael Crichton (The Andromeda Strain, Jurassic Park) said,“Books are not written, they’re re-written.”

Anne Enright puts it, ‘Only bad writers think that their work is really good.’

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