Let Your Internal Editor Out of the Closet
Your draft is done, correct? I hope you celebrated this major goal. It a rare occurrence and few can appreciate the work involved to attain it. Is your draft perfect? No. But guess what no one’s first draft is perfect. After the celebration, even if it is a party of one, put your manuscript away for three to six weeks. Why? It allows you to create space between writing and reading. It’s amazing what you see when you return to the text as a reader with fresh eyes.
Please read the text without pen or other writing implements. Read for story, flow, pace, and context. Treat the manuscript as any book you read. Create a review. What works, what doesn’t work for you as a reader, not as an editor. Your internal editor will be chomping at the bit to chide you, demand changes and question your every word. She’s hungry for red ink. Reread the text as editor and reader. It is the editor’s job to hunt for your writing habits:
Reread the text as editor and reader. It is the editor’s job to hunt for your writing habits:
- Overuse of comfort words: would, could, when, turn, became
- Qualifying phrases
- Misuse of synonyms
- Fear of jumping into the action
- Overuse of internal dialogue
- Wordy dialogue attributions
It is the editor’s job to draw the blood of red ink, an indication of decisions you need to make as the writer. Not all ink splatter is equal. As the writer, you are the CSI. You must decide what is relevant and what is superfluous. Second draft is not the time for copyediting it is the time to make decisions regarding story. Are you telling the story from the best point of view? Are character details consistent throughout the text? Do you have adequate transitions to enable the reader to move forward without question? Have you refrained from over telling? Are the details consistent with time and place?
Reread the text with pen in hand and mark up content with the above questions in mind and indicate with question marks in the margins to indicate decision points raised by your internal editor and your notes as the reader. Let the revisions begin.
Remember you have the final say as the writer and referee for all feedback from the reader and editor.