Editing tips?

I am soon to embark on the fun (?) task that is editing, a thing all of us have to go through but most of us don’t really want to. The problem is, I have never had to edit anything unless it was a school essay (even then, I don’t do a thorough job). Also, the editing I am about to partake in is cutting down a book from 130,000 words to, well, something less than that.

So, I have a question!

What are some of your best editing tips?

I really need help xD


Where are you in the process – first draft complete, multiple drafts complete, ready to finalize before submission?

What is your final goal – publishing on Wattpad, traditional publishing, or self publishing?

What type of editing are you thinking about – developmental, line, copy, or all of those?

Not sure it will help, but I try to step away from the book for a while, so that when I come back, I read it with fresh eyes, and so the things that don’t work will stand out to me like I’m a new reader.

I’ve completed the first draft

I want to try traditional publishing, hence the need to get the word count down.

All of the above :joy::joy:

Bookmarked!! Because I’m about to edit 5 books at the end of this year!

I feel you! This will be my problem for when (or if) I decide to edit my novel which is 162k words and growing!

Anyways, I like to start by making a list of things like
a) is there anything I’ve missed and would like to include?
b) what scenes aren’t relevant?

Once I’ve thought about it, I start hacking away!

Things to chop out could be
a) irrelevant descriptions that don’t move/add to the story
b) repetition
c) little words
d) dialogue tags (or is it just me that overuses them?? haha)

Hope it helps, sorry if it doesn’t! But, good luck with your editing project <3


I read through it and I look at it like ‘it’s fine, nothing needs changing’ xD It’s so frustrating! I know the description is over the top, I’ve been told about it (especially with biscuit decorating) but I can find excuses for everything xD

Editing is the bane of my life and I haven’t even done it yet

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Editing can be like that! Maybe start chopping descriptions and see where it gets you? There’s always the undo button! :heart_eyes:

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True, true xD The idea of editing is terrifying…

You can do this!!! As long as you have the original version, you can’t go too wrong with it :slight_smile:

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Good point :slight_smile: I did try and get a beta reader so I could identify plot points that need fixing, but no dice xD


Okay. One thing you could try is focus on it one chapter at a time.

Looking at unneeded adverbs can help shortened down the word count. Also repetitive description or use of too much can help cut that down.

Judge every line. Every sentence structure. Always think about which things are the most important vs the least important. If there’s a huge description for something that isn’t too important, judge why it has a massive description and if it’s relevant.

Things like this really help make things easier. But in doing this, it’s easier to take one chapter at a time, and don’t be afraid of spending an hkur or two focusing on that.

If you want to go through your whole book woth edit sprints, you could always focus on one thing. Say with one run, you focus on useless adverbs, then the next time descriptions etc.

Also overuse of dialogue tags is a good one to look out for too :slight_smile:

I hope this helped somewhat and good luck :smiley:

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Thank you! That’ll help a lot :slight_smile:

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I actually don’t recommend starting chapter by chapter unless you’re sure your arcs are complete and your scenes are in the right order and location.

After finishing a first draft, the first step is developmental editing. That’s where, now that you have your whole plot and understand your character arcs, you tear the book apart, rebuild it perfectly, and rewrite it in a way that there is no fluff, no plot holes, and every arc (plot and character) is fully developed.

It’s not at all unusual for the second draft to be a complete rewrite, especially if you “pantsed” the first draft.

Planning everything totally helps with this too, but that depends on your technique of creating the plot/characters etc :slight_smile:

I forgot to mention that plus I forget a lot of writers pants :wink:

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I agree 1000%. I’m a plotter to the nth degree. I don’t have the patience for developmental editing on the back end. I fix all that before I get a word on the page.

But many, many writers are pantsers, and they usually need developmental editing.

Agreed. And it’s funny. The times I do sort of pants, I tend to remember everything, but in saying that, I don’t make those ones that complex. Plus they end up being really fun to write since my imagination keeps going everywhere.

I do keep myself in check though. I always have a beginning, middle and end with those sorts of stories and have an intention with what the MC does and what the desired outcome of conflict/struggle is :slight_smile: