There’s a long lists of how to edit your story. What steps need to be taken to get from point A to B and I can focus on those things in a later blog. Lord knows I’ve been through those trenches enough to know a thing or two about surviving. I believe there’s a whole blog about finding what works for you that includes a list of things that happened to help through that particular process.
And there’s plenty of other blogs out there that spell out some of the best methods of writing, hell there’s whole books. I’ll get to those in this blog as well if you’re looking for some ideas on what to read.
But there’s few on the tools that a person can use to edit their novel and I’ve had to do some deep diving myself to really find what works for me. So here’s a few tools that I’ve found that makes my editing process so much easier and takes off some of that stress.
Notebooks: No, this first one isn’t anything online and if you’re a writer it’s not a huge secret to you. Having a spare notebook next to you as you go through your first draft just to jot down some quick notes is a literal life saver. Especially when you’re doing most of this on the go and don’t have quick access to a computer. You can even do this while you are writing your first draft and just make notes of changes that you think of as your story progresses. Because we all know that story is going to change mid structure. So scribble all of your notes down during the original drafting process and again when you are doing the first read through and when you are finished make those changes you feel are still relevant.
Grammarly: Grammarly and other such editing sites is one of those easily over looked tools that people tend to ignore because it is a computerized editor reading data in your work and giving you feed back, but for a person who sucks at grammar, like me, its a life saver in getting those simple mistakes out of your manuscript before sending it off to beta readers and CP’s who’ll catch a misplaced comma a mile away.
Text to Voice sites: This is a relatively new step for me. Before I would have suffered and read the words aloud and gone hoarse in the process. Now I’ve found a way to have the story read to me. Which makes it so much better because I can listen and take notes or make changes without having to lose the rhythm of the story. Admittedly, it gets paused on several occasions while I’m going through it and I do wind up rewinding to listen to the same sentence twenty times but it’s not my voice that’s being worn out and it really came in handy in my last short story edit.
Scrivener: Okay, yes I know scrivener is an all around tool but make no mistake it really shows it’s usefulness while you are editing. You can pull up split screen so that you are staring at your original first draft and all its notes and be able to type out all the edits on the other screen. You can switch out scene cards if you decide the scenes need to be mixed up. You can jump back and forth between chapters and storyboard mode. All of your additional research notes, characters cards, and world building information is right there in the story binder so you’re not flipping through a hundred other folders on your computer, fretting that you’ve accidentally deleted it in the last folder clean out.
Thesaurus.com : Or any other book or site that allows you to have a list of words that mean the same as that word that you’ve used over a hundred times. You know what I’m talking about. Going through the first draft most of us have gotten into the habit of fast drafting thanks to challenges like Nanowrimo and so we’ve got a hundred instances of “look” and “rushed” through out our entire novel and a good thesaurus always helps in finding another word before we go through and just completely rewrite the entire paragraph.
So, yes. There is my 5 favorite editing items that I use before I send my manuscripts out to beta readers and cps. Cause let’s be honest. Even when we tell them that it’s a second or third draft we still want the best we can do on our own sent to them before their eyes land on it and every little bit helps in the end.
Until next time. Happy writing!