A beautiful day in Key West today. Temps in the low 80s, with lots of sun. Spent much of the morning editing chapters 30 & 31. I had to correct the time frame jam I’d written myself into. It just didn’t work and I’d spent a few restless days trying to figure out how to write myself out of the situation. I did that today. I’ll re-read them tomorrow morning and see if the changes still work for me.
Self-editing is important. Whenever I finish a chapter I let it sit until the evening and then run it through Smart Edit. Doing this allows me to write during the day and when I see too many “I began, I did this, he said, . . .” I don’t attempt to fix it because Smart Edit will point it out to me. The program brings to my attention a list of questionable items. It’s a very useful program. Sometimes I fix the item by re-writing the sentence, other times I feel it’s okay and leave it as I wrote it.
My chapters are usually short. That allows me to go over the chapter in the morning. It’s surprising how the things I missed, or words I left out or repeated. I do another self-editing before beginning the next chapter.
But my eyes on the page isn’t enough. No writer can edit his/her writings. I have a couple of friends who are avid readers of mystery fiction that take a look at my book. They are not people who will say things they think I want to hear. They make corrections, leave comments and, more often than not, are correct!
Then it’s off to the editor.
I’ve heard there are more than a million e-books on Amazon. Most of them, unfortunately, are written and put out there for sale without editing. Or, in many cases, a family member or friend who has an English degree edits the story. That doesn’t work. You need someone who will tell you the cold, hard truth, not matter how it hurts! Even if the story has potential, a poorly written story will keep a reader from spending the few dollars for your next book. Time is important in today’s world, and no one has time to read bad writing.
And readers talk and write reviews. We all receive bad reviews, can’t be helped. But what we want are many more 4 & 5-star reviews that show up the one or two bad reviews.
Someone, I’m sure, made you eat your vegetables when you were young, telling you they were good for you. And that someone was right. Editing is the brussels sprouts of writing!