An editing checklist
  1. Start to finish
    • Speed through your first draft to get all your basic ideas on the page and a firm idea of what is supposed to happen
  2. Fix major holes in the story
    • Basically this edit is for making sure the plot and subplots all make sense and don’t leave the reader thinking “WHaT??”
  3. Correct minor holes and inconsistencies
    • Make sure that any changes were accounted for when going through. If you changed dialogue in chapter 3, make sure that the old dialogue is not mentioned again in chapter 17.
  4. Improve areas that are lacking
    • Add better dialogue, narrative, emotion, cliff hangers, etc.
    • This is the time to spice up your work
  5. Flow and Voice
    • Reduce passive voice
    • Read your story out loud
  6. Grammar
    • Punctuation, correct spelling, and other common mistakes

I personally believe in having six rough drafts completed in this order because it takes care of the big issues first, and then gradually works its way to fixing the smaller problems.

Won’t be doing unnecessary work that you will have to do later.

If you edited out of this order, then you could fix grammar only to have to rewrite and entire chapter and redo the grammar on it again.

Save yourself the time from editing parts that will just end up changing later on. Fix the major problems now, and the little things later.

Beta readers

What they are:

Beta testers are groups of people who test out a product before a company releases it to the market.

It is a great way to get reviews from a small group of relevant consumers that mimic your target audience.

The first people that will read your work and give feedback are known as Beta readers.

How does someone get beta readers?

The easiest way is to join writers groups on Facebook (such as Beta readers and critique partners)

How does it work?

Quid Pro Quo. 

They will read and give feedback on your work if you do the same for them.

Post a synopsis of your story with a description of its genre and word count. If someone thinks you will be a good fit, they will contact you. And if you see someone’s post and think they would be a good fit for you, contact them.

Role of a beta reader

Beta readers are not there to nitpick your story.

It doesn’t matter if they would have made a dragon swoop in to kill the king or not, its your story not theirs.

Of course they can give an opinion, but it is just that. You know your story better than they do, so change anything if you think it belongs.

Rule of thumb for beta reading and critiquing:

According to best selling author Brandon Sanderson, beta readers should spend much less time critiquing little details and focus more on emotion.

How did a scene or chapter make them feel and why?

This helps you way more because you will know if what you intended to do hit the mark or not.

After all, eliciting emotion is the most important goal for your work.

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