Hey everyone The Book, Business, and Brand Building Summit's last day is today, so I shall be returning next week. :) In the meantime, ...

Guest Post: How to Survive Micro-Editing By Victoria Grace Howell

Hey everyone The Book, Business, and Brand Building Summit's last day is today, so I shall be returning next week. :) In the meantime, here is some wonderful advice courtesy of the brilliant Victoria from Wanderer's Pen on how to survive micro-editing. :)

Everyone seems to dread microediting, this tedious, but completely necessary part of writing. Writers procrastinate this task for weeks, abandon their books at that point, or even hire someone to do it for them. Yes, it is hard to pick out typos and grammar flubs so embedded that not even spellcheck/grammarcheck can help you. Sometimes you’ll spend twenty minutes rephrasing one paragraph, but this is the polishing stage of your book, and it needs to shine for publishers and agents. Here are seven survival tips I use when microediting:

1. Make Sure You’ve Macroedited First
When I first started writing I jumped immediately from writing the first draft to microediting. That’s a bad idea. Editing is easier when it’s done in stages and microediting should be one of your last stages. In macroediting you focus on big problems like inconsistencies and plot holes. In microediting you’re concentrating on grammar and sentence structure. If you try to do it at once, then you could end up checking the grammar for parts of your book you’ll end up cutting out and wasting time. After you’ve finished your macroedit then you’re ready for your microedit.

2. Make Weekly Goals Instead of Daily Goals  
Editing is more unpredictable than writing. Writing you know how fast you can type out five hundred words, but with editing some pages will be more trouble than others. This is why I’ve started making weekly goals for editing instead of daily. Say your goal is forty pages a week. Some days you easily edit ten pages. Other days you may only be able to edit three because they were really mangled. A weekly goal helps take the pressure off while still being goal-oriented.

3. Don’t Edit When You’re Tired  
Try to get enough sleep while editing. If you edit when you’re tired you may miss things. Editing is about being vigilant, and you can’t be vigilant when you can’t keep your eyes open.

4. Don’t Listen to Music
This sounds harsh, but hear me out. Music can be very distracting. You can get caught up in the rhythm of a cool song and accidently miss an error. Maybe there are people who can edit and listen to music at the same time and still be effective, but that certainly doesn’t work for me.

5. Keep a Notebook Next to You At All Times
When you’re editing you may find a reoccurring inconsistency or decide to change something. Keep a notebook so you can keep track of these tweaks. I usually make notes per chapter.

6. Read Over a Page Once in Your Head and Once Out Loud  
I’ve found this to be one of the most thorough ways to edit. Reading it once allows you an initial impression to get the story back in your brain—and do damage assessment. When you read out loud you can test dialogue and pick out anything you could have missed in your first read through.

7. Don’t Rush It
I’m firmly against editing wars. Editing shouldn’t be a race. If you go to fast, you could miss something. Take your time when you edit. You need to be thorough not speedy.

I’ve microedited multiple books plus I’m an editor for a website. I hope years of collecting tricks will help you in your microediting. You can do it!

Victoria Grace Howell is an award-winning, author of speculative fiction and an editor for the non-profit organization, Geeks Under Grace, a staff writer for Geekdom House, and has been published in Splickety: Havok Magazine. Since she was a child growing up in the state of Georgia, she’s always had a heart for stories. When not typing away at her novels, she enjoys drawing her characters, blogging, Kung Fu, cosplaying, and a really good hot cup of tea.

Awesome tips! Thanks so much for coming, Victoria! And I totally agree about the reading your work out loud! That definitely helps to catch all kinds of mistakes you'd miss by onlyreading silently. :)

So everyone, any questions for Victoria? Have you ever micro-edited? How did you go about it? Can't wait to hear from you all, and I will see you in the comment section! :D

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  1. This was SUCH a helpful post ahh, Victoria you are amazing. Lovely guest post <3


    1. Yay! I'm so happy it's helped you! Thanks for commenting!

    2. Isn't it awesome! I'll have to bookmark this list for the next time I'm microediting.

  2. I've found another trick, though very annoying, is to have the computer read stuff to me. It helps me catch typos, like loose instead of lose, or though instead of thought.
    I really like Scrivener for editing since it allows me to jump between chapters and edit all kinds of things on the go, instead of scrolling for ages like I'd have to do in word. It also lets me see chapter length and such. (I've got a fangirling post about Scrivener on my blog.)

    1. Hmm, that's a good one! Thanks for sharing it. :)

      Yeah, that was a problem for me too, until I learned about the CTRL+F shortcut that let me search my documents. So now, as long as I know what I'm looking for, scrolling for ages isn't a problem anymore. :)
      I'll have to check out that post sometime!

    2. The CTRL+F thing works, but Scrivener works better since it allows you to find stuff even easier.

  3. I never tried to macro edit before because I haven't finished writing my novel xDD

    1. Haha, well, at least you have the post for reference when you /do/ get to that stage. :)

    2. Ditto what Alexa said. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Great article and so true, Victoria! I find that I have to take my time when it comes to editing, even if it means I feel like I'm traveling the speed of a snail. Too many mistakes would be missed if I rushed, and doing too much in one sitting would be overwhelming. Also like you said: making weekly goals can be much more manageable than daily goals.

    1. Yes! You get it. XD Thanks so much for commenting!

    2. *nods* I totally feel you! It's part of the reason I kind of don't like editing because it can take ages :p But to do it right, you do have to take your time. Thanks for commenting! :D


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