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Let's Talk About the Editing Process - 5 Top Tips for New Authors

Hello again, and Happy New Year! 2024 will be the release year for "The Unravelling" and the year I become a published author #exciting

In my last blog, I talked about my process for creativity, so I thought I'd follow this up with my process for "getting stuff done" which I dare say is the less sexy and harder of the two disciplines. I am certainly no expert, and am genuinely looking for feedback, so please do comment below or on our socials with your thoughts.

A picture of a middle aged man in his study using his computer while dressed very smartly.
I asked ChatGPT & DALL-E to generate a picture of me in my editing process, I'll let you be the judge but I'm flattered haha

Here's what I did;

Single Document Controls Everything

Maybe this stems from me beginning on my iPhone, but I did find that having everything in one document helped my "post completion" process. I had my draft synopsis, my chapter list, my lists of themes and characters all at the top of my document. Then with each chapter I was quickly and easily able to refer to the original notes and the intent, which would often spur me into writing a few paragraphs here and there, or deleting the odd word as I read it back through. Ensuring you have clarity of direction is my reasoning for having the single document, and not being distracted in other tabs or programs or too many things open at once. Worked for me.

Top Tip: Use a single document in the cloud that constantly updates as you start to read it back and edit.

Read it Back Fully - Edit as you Read

This one sounds simple, but I've talked to a few people who say they don't read their stuff back as much as they should have. I must have read my first chapter about 100 times. Each time I would settle down for some heavy duty editing, I'd literlly just go in chronological order and read each sentence, checking for spelling and grammatical errors. This took time but I do think it has helped the end result. I caught a few things this way, like some back story inconsistencies and some time and place errors.

Top Tip: Read your work back, thoroughly and completely. Edit slowly.

Use Tools If You Can

Now this is one I'm adding in, which is something I've since learned, though it may be contradictory for the above tip of "read fully". I didn't hear about Pro-Writing Aid until i was done, and wow I'd have loved to use it. The full version is so powerful, and has taught me loads of things, and quickly and easily used AI to help perfect things here and there. Way more than a spell checker, I'm going to use it for my second novel for sure. The internet is awah with tools, I'm a big fanboy of AI and ChatGPT but I use these things sparingly, and never to create, only to check and edit. I'm now into the marketing stage and using the AI Assistant to help curate social posts on things like Buffer is another amazing tool.

Top Tip: Research all available writing tools and use them at the right time to speed you up.

Get a Proof Reader

You simply can't catch everything yourself. Page-blindness is a thing, especially like my first chapter that i know off by heart by now. So I invested in a proof reader as part of my deal with my publisher, and wow I'm glad I did. I still caught maybe 12 typos in the post production phase, where I ordered a physical copy of my book and I read it back cover to cover. My proof reader though caught about 200, not going to lie, including a lot of schoolboy errors in punctuation, and here's me thinking I'd passed GSCE and A-Level English hahahaha. This step is easily worth the money.

Top Tip: Use different pairs of eyes in the editing process, and use a ProofReader if you can.

Believe in Yourself

Lastly, but most importantly. I see and hear from a lot of people who are literally in a straight jacket of procrastination. Constantly polishing the apple and never putting it on the shelf for sale. Don't fall into this trap. There will ALWAYS be things you would change whenever you pull the pin and decide to say "that's enough - it's DONE". So what. Being done and believing in yourself is the biggest thing you can do. Don't hesitate, time is the enemy - get your work edited and completed and FINISHED.

Top Tip: JFDI - ask the internet what that means if you don't know - this is a family friendly page!

So there we are - my 5 top tips for taking your idea and getting it to a finsihed stage. As a newbie, I'm delighted with my decision to work with Grosvenor House Publishing, who have been amazing from start to finish. Reach out to someone who has done this before if you want to know the ropes!

Let me know your thoughts on this - I'd love to hear your feedback.

Speak soon!


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