Finishing a book is one of the most exhilarating feelings in the world.
Go ahead. Bask in the glory of a job well done. But, as anyone who has ever had a compelling message to share will tell you, writing your book is just one part of this wonderful, glorious adventure.
Now, it’s time to figure out how to make edits.
How to Make Edits
So, everyone has a book inside of them (or so the story goes). But, how many people actually have the courage to sit down, day after day, and pour blood, sweat, and even some tears into a manuscript?
The answer is not very many at all.
Well done, you!
But, having finished the writing phase of your book, you have now entered that place of no return, that stage to which all successful writers must eventually come.
It’s time to understand how to make edits.
After all, writing is really rewriting.
Every single written piece of work is made better by editing. And, as a potential author, with a powerful vision to share, it is critical that your content, structure, and style all go through your own editing process.
Now, if you’re wondering how to make edits, or trying to figure out where to even begin, do not worry! Help is at hand.
You can edit your way to excellence.
Here’s our comprehensive guide.
How to Make Edits That Take Your Work to the Next Level
Your goal, up to this point has consisted of three main priorities:
- 1. To write
- 2. To write
- 3. To write
Like many authors, your first draft is all about getting your message down on paper, and it’s for your eyes only.
Now, crafting that message in the editing phase will ensure that your awesome vision is conveyed in the best way possible.
But, before you begin the editing process, it’s important to take a couple of days or even a couple of weeks away from your work.
Having gone through all that writing, there is a certain point that you can become blind to errors in your work.
Why is this?
Because you are too close.
Remove yourself from the picture for a small amount of time, then come back with fresh, enquiring, critical eyes. We like to approach editing in the areas of content, structure, and style.
Content is a great place to start when you begin to edit your work because everything else in your book comes directly from the content. Put simply, content is king. If the content isn’t right, your structure and style won’t matter.
How do you make edits to your content?
There are particular aspects of content that you should focus on with laser-like precision.
Here they are:
Does the Content Speak to the Reader?
You’ve written this book because you believe yourself to be a good writer, and, you have something compelling to say.
When evaluating that message ask yourself some of these important questions:
- • How have I expressed my message?
- • Will the way I have expressed my vision grip the reader?
- • Is it absorbing? Fascinating? Irresistible?
- • Is it unique? Is my approach fresh and different? Is it offering something new?
Have You Presented Sufficient Research?
Your concepts and ideas are a crucial component in presenting your point of view and they must be intellectually engaging. But, whether the information you present is subjective or objective, it must always be backed up with sufficient research.
Here are some issues to consider:
- • Are your ideas crystal clear?
- • Are those concepts well researched?
- • Can you stand over the research you have provided?
- • Is that research well illustrated?
- • Is it well presented?
- • Does it come from the very best sources?
- • Does it help the reader to understand your message better?
- • Do the complex ideas come later on in the text when all of the basic concepts have been presented and understood?
You can have the greatest ideas in the world, but the way you structure those ideas can ultimately decide if your book gets published or not.
The most important issue to consider with structure is transitions.
To increase your publishing power, you will need to ensure that your reasoning flows rationally. The use of correct transitions will help you do just that.
Think of transitions as tour guides for your readers. They carry the reader from one logical concept to another, connecting your sentences and paragraphs in a crystal clear fashion.
Here’s how to make edits to your transitions:
- • Ask yourself if there is a clear connection between your ideas
- • Is the relationship between one concept and another following a natural progression?
- • Is there a sudden leap from one concept/sentence/paragraph to another?
Transitions allow ease of flow. They provide a smooth veneer to your argument. Are your transitions working hard for you?
When you’re discovering how to make edits to style, it’s important to ensure that your chosen style remains consistent throughout.
Although there are many components involved in making up your writing style, here are some of the most important aspects to consider:
Over time, you have become an expert in your chosen field. But concepts that may seem clear to you may seem far more complex to your reader.
At all times during the editing process, ask yourself two fundamental questions:
- 1. Is this writing clear?
- 2. Where might the reader get confused?
Strength of Word Choice
Because you’re always striving to become a better writer, you’ll instinctively know that your use of language can make or break your argument. Every word you use must be put to good use.
Consider the type of language you’re using. Is that language appropriate for your target audience? Is this the language that they use?
Are you using powerful words? Are those words fresh? Are they bold?
Have any clichés crept into your work? If so, exterminate them! Nothing screams ‘dull’ like the use of a worn-out cliché.
Your syntax or sentence variety is also important when you’re aiming to keep readers engaged.
Are your sentences varied in length? Remember that a good argument needs an interesting pace. Short sentences speed up pace, while longer sentences slow it down.
How to Make Edits That Matter
Some authors bemoan the notion of editing. Many have a preconceived idea that editing work is a grueling, abominable, thankless task.
For a writer like you, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Making edits to your work improves your overall writing and it vastly increases your chances of getting published.
Editing does not have to be a soul-destroying siege.
It can be interesting. It can be fun. It can be beguiling.
And, if you do it correctly, it could make all the difference.
If you’d like help editing manuscript and would like to connect with one of our vetted, experienced editors, contact us here.