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Wine, sour patch kids, and the red pen

Editing: How do you do it?

I think every writer has their own systems, habits, superstitions. Friday nights are reserved for writing with a glass of wine, watermelon sour patch kids and some rock ‘n roll.

Yeah, it's kinda like that. ;) But even more important, perhaps, is my editing process. This is my pre-submission editing, before I pass to my betas, before I send to publishers, before I do any edits required by the publisher.  This is when I take my rough draft and polish it.

I type THE END and spend the next couple days reading other author’s books. Like sorbet between gourmet courses, I cleanse my palate with the words, the images, created by others. Then I read my book, beginning to end, making the obvious changes, run spellcheck and grammar check, and read it again.

Then it goes to my two favorite betas: my daughter Casey who is a fiend for typographical and grammatical errors – she has a vendetta against homophones – and my very good friend Jen who is a solid resource for constructive criticism. When they’ve finished and sent me their notes. I do another round of revisions. With another read.

By now I hate my book. But I keep going.

I paste each chapter, a chapter at a time, into an online editor that shows me word usage, clich├ęs, weak words, passive verbs, etcetera. And when that’s done, believe it or not, I read it one last time. And if it’s tight? If I can’t find anything more to change?

I drink because it’s time to start submitting and the real angst begins.


Self-publishing? The more polished your piece BEFORE you hire an independent editor (and please, please, please hire an independent editor) the less editing you may need which in turn can result in spending less to produce a quality, professional book. Please see this article about self-editing from Romance Rehab – it speaks to my warm, fuzzy heart. 


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