How to Edit Your Own Work

How to edit your own work can feel as scary as first putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The first thing to remember is this quote from Sarah Stewart:

Completely disregard all [editing] advice when working on your first draft. Write freely and just get your words down on the page. Once you have the shape of your story, there’s plenty of time for fiddling and applying the suggestions above.

The quote comes from her article Five Things: Quick Fixes For Your Writing that featured in our post Editing Hints & Tips we published in May 2014. Once you’ve finished your first draft, check out the following hints and tips for editing your own work below the break.

Let Your Writing Go Cold

Here at West Lothian Writers we are strong believes in stepping back from your writing and leaving it to cool. Stuart Wakefield from Writeur agrees with us and wrote the article 8 Reasons To Let Your Writing Go Cold on the very subject. His reasons are:

  • It’s an opportunity to let go
  • It helps us gauge the longevity of the idea
  • It strengthens the foundation
  • It’s time for our minds to wander outside the box

As you can see we haven’t quoted all eight points from Stuart’s article but we would recommend heading over Writeur to read all eight and see the reasons behind each:

Some Quick Notes on How to Edit Your Own Work

So you have left your work in the metaphorical draw for a short time and you know want to get on with the editing, where do you start? Luckily Setsu from the website Katana / Pen is here to help with their Quick Notes on How To Edit Your Own Work. (I hope they doesn’t mind that we borrow her title for this post!)

These quick notes are a combination of their own and Laura. N. Stephenson’s and like Stuart’s article above we are only going to highlight a couple of them. You’ll need to go to Katana / Pen to read all of them:

  • Writer’s ticks – keep an eye out for words/phrases you overuse
  • Read it aloud – the ear will pick out mistakes the eye glosses over
  • If a section is terrible, rewrite rather than edit
  • Put cut material in separate document to look at after the manuscript is over and judge if its worth putting in somewhere else
  • Write a mark in the manuscript for where you need research, whether into your own work or to fact check

What techniques do you use to edit your work? Post your favourites in the comments below

Permanent link to this article: http://www.westlothianwriters.org.uk/edit-work/

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