I was recently asked to share what I use for my editing checklist, so here it is in all its editing glory…
(A lot of my ideas are borrowed from other authors – hey if it worked for them then it might work for me)
There are two ways I’ve gone about this whole editing thing and I find both ways have their pros and cons.
For my first novel I went through the whole thing from the first chapter to the last chapter. I did everything at once: from fixing major plot holes, making sure the writing is consistent throughout, and fixing all the mechanical errors with my spelling, word use, punctuation, etc.
With this method I found the best way to go about it is to focus on a couple chapters a day rather than rush through. While you’re editing make sure to keep a checklist, or as I call it my “Keep in Mind” checklist, of what you notice in your writing: overuse of a word or words, smoothness/naturalness of the dialogue, character consistency, what you need to remember for the next chapter or chapters to ensure overall plot consistency, and so on. Write down the chapters you’re editing as you can go back through your notes and find where you made mistakes and correct them.
I’m using this method for my second novel to start, but this time the editing will have three stages:
1) Developmental Editing Stage – where I look at the overall plot, characters, and writing style to make sure it’s all consistent with the first book. (Right now I’m reading through the first novel and making notes on each chapter, my Keep in Mind’s, to transfer over to the second novel to make sure I wrap up any unanswered questions).
2) Line Editing Stage – where I look at the novel literally line by line ensuring style is consistently effective and appealing as possible.
3) Copy Editing Stage – where I look for errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, word use, etc.
EA Deverell has an Editing Checklist you can use which gives you a list of a few things you can check for while editing. You can also add your own editing notes as well. There are two checklists: one for story (Stage 1 – Developmental Editing) and one for text (Stage 2 and 3 – Line Editing and Copy Editing). Here they are:
This second method, the three stage editing process, would allow me to go through a lot less drafts and revisions, unlike the first method where you’re done when you feel you’ve caught all your errors.
I hope these two methods will give you a few ideas when you start to edit your WIP. Good luck and let me know what methods you use to get through editing.
Until next time.