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Editing's Do's and Don'ts part 1

As an published author and editor for romance novels what tips would you share with an author just starting out for doing those dreaded revisions and edits?
Answer:


Whew! So you made it through to that last chapter of your book and all that blood, sweat, and tears later you’re now ready to submit it to a publisher. But what should it look like? What is the publisher looking for? What does the publisher NOT want to see?

1) Edit, edit, edit.
*Make shore awl typos arr gone. Don’t just rely on Word’s spell check feature, however. Go over each line with a fine tooth comb.
*Ensure your grammar is impeccable.
*Don’t use too many contractions, ellipses…Italics, or exclamation points !!!!(most of these will get removed by your editor anyway).
*Read each sentence out loud – does it make sense?
-This is particularly important for dialogue. Do people really talk like what you’ve written for your character’s dialogue? If you overheard someone saying that same line would it sound odd? Stuffy? Unnatural?
*Avoid “head hopping”. Use scene breaks to shift point of view. While this is not necessary in all cases, for a newbie author it is often very hard to switch POV naturally without taking the reader out of the action.
*Make sure tense – most likely simple past or present – matches throughout each sentence and throughout the book. For instance, “She quickened her steps on the sidewalk as she looks over her shoulder” mixes tenses. This is a bad, bad thing. For shame!

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"Where are we going, and why am I in this handbasket?"

Comments

Patrica said…
Thank you so much for your post. I find it extremely helpful. I do have one question for you though.

What about comma's? I've had several people look at my story, one puts the commas in saying that's where they go, another take's em out and I'm confused!
Morgan St. John said…
Hey Patricia. this is a wonderful blog! Thanks for stopping by mine. I've got you on my People you REally Want to Know list. :D
Regarding commas - there are really no hard and fast rules. When my editor looked at my mss. she returned it filled with added commas, and I thought I was really good about adding them! Best thing I can say is when in doubt, go ahead and put it in. Seems like you can never get enough commas, the quirky little things! Either way, it won't make or break you but it's really hard to read text with a noticeable absence of commas.

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