Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Novel Writing Step by Step - Part Five

Polishing and Editing a Novel
This week we look at how to get your novel ready to send to a publisher or agent. This means getting it to be the very best that you can. Before polishing and editing, it is a good idea to put the manuscript aside and leave it for a week or two. Errors are often easier to pick up after a break from your work.

Polishing your Writing
Polishing writing means to bring a shine to it. This is the process of checking for feeling and emotion and the right word choice. Does your writing sparkle with life or is it stodgy and hard to follow. Reread passages that don’t sound right and try rearranging or substituting words.

Editing your Novel
Editing involves the structure of your novel. Check for grammar, spelling, punctuation, consistency and flow. Most word processors have basic spell checks and some also correct grammar. They are not always right so make sure you agree with them before making any changes.

Should I Polish and Edit as I go or at the End
The answer is both. After writing a scene or chapter, go through it and correct errors and then leave it. The story may change as the novel progresses so it is not worth spending hours fixing a chapter, only to find you delete or rewrite it later. Once the book is complete, read it through and polish and edit. Some writers do both at once while others prefer to concentrate on one thing at a time.

Is a Professional Edit Necessary
If you are serious about finding a publisher, it is a good idea to get your work edited by a professional. Our own Tracy Ruckman is an excellent editor. She has been through several pieces of my writing and improved them greatly with her suggestions. Never be afraid of editing as it can transform a good novel into an excellent one.

Next week we’ll be looking at how to write a synopsis and present your manuscript to a publisher.

Read Part One here

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101 , Take Root and Write and Faithwriters.

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