MY KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING EXPERIENCE: PART V_EDITING YOUR MANUSCRIPT
My First Edit
When I did my first edit on FATE STALKS A HERO I:RESURGENCE, I decided to read through the entire manuscript and make corrections as I went along, including rewriting parts that needed it. It’s funny how many issues you discover while plowing through the original rough draft, like grammar mistakes, spelling errors, and the repetitive usage of duplicate words residing close to one another. It’s enough to give your text an amateur feel to it.
This is a multi-part series entitled “My Kindle Direct Publishing Experience”. The first blog in the series “My Kindle Direct Publishing Experience: Part I _Starting From Scratch” shows how I took my first steps. I plan to transform all of the related blogs into an eBook and paperback on Amazon. These informational articles will be available as blog posts for a limited time only.
As I stated in My Kindle Direct Publishing Experience: Part IV_ Kindle Initial Steps To Get Your Draft Ready, I began the Online Editing Program process with Grammarly, but the free version was very limited with too many restrictions. When I transferred my document to the Pro Writing Aid Program, the free version gave me much more flexibility. So, with the help from a special offer promoted by them, I upgraded to premium and have no impediments at all.
A Multiplicity Of Issues For You To Consider
My biggest hurdle was learning about all the different writing issues you face which include:
- Style Problems
- Grammar and Spelling Errors
- Overused Words
- Close Repeats (Echoes)
- Overuse of Adverbs
- Structure Concerns
- Sticky Sentences
- Excessive Cliches
- Ease of Reading
The biggest items that annoyed me the most were:
- Style issues
- Grammar mistakes
- Spelling and Punctuation errors
- Echoes (Repetitive use of words close together).
Frustrating as it may seem, you will never get it all perfect. So I will take you through my journey as I progressed, letting you know up front that I am a perfectionist and hope that I can cure myself of that problem (it’s a writer’s roadblock).
Style Faults Can Plague Your Writing
If you get feedback from your editor or computer program that you need to ‘tighten your prose’ or ‘look at your choice of words’, you may need to work on your writing style—that is, the way you put together a sentence or group of sentences. Here are some itemized points to consider when dealing with style:
- Say what you Mean to get your point across. Don’t get cute with fancy dialogue or intellectual double speak.
- Be appropriate with your Phraseology. Use words and sentences that avoid “glitzy” terms that emphasize a general lack of intelligence.
- Avoid Wordiness. Make your point and move on.
- Be careful with Clichés. Use them as people would when they speak but try to avoid them if you can.
- Avoid Qualifiers like mostly, really, very, generally whenever you can to make a stronger, more direct point in your writing style.
- Avoid Redundancy, using two words or phrases together that mean the same thing.
I like to write dialogue the way people normally speak. I try to avoid pompous rhetoric like the plague. But the words out of the mouths of most people don’t seem to emulate correct grammar more often than not. When you read that dialogue in written format, you notice faulty issues more so than when you hear them spoken out loud. In short, I have tried to pinpoint some grammar concerns that I face, such as:
- Adverbs-I try to avoid words that end in -ly which are used to modify verbs.
- Prepositional Phrases that show direction, motion or time to make my writing wordy. I seek the usage of direct phrases to make a point.
- Ambiguous Pronouns– I make sure the reader knows who “He” or “She” is when referring to someone.
- Run-On Sentences– I attempt to avoid 2 or more complete sentences that are meshed together.
- Avoid Overuse of “he said, she said” by identifying the person speaking with interjected clues in the dialogue.
Spelling and Punctuation errors are part of the grammar format but deserve special consideration next.
Spelling and Punctuation Conundrums
Spelling errors are a constant problem for me. Even though the spell checker in my WORD software program picks up most errors as I type, it won’t catch them all. The same with my Pro Writing Aid Program program. Add to that dilemma the fact that you don’t even know how to spell certain words correctly and the problem becomes an unending cause for concern. You can read through your manuscript over and over again and pick up a new error each time.
The same goes for Punctuation. I have addressed some of those issues by targeting them as follows:
- Periods or Commas placed on the wrong side of quotation marks.
- Proper insertion of Question and Exclamation Marks at the end of the quote itself and not at the end of the reference to the one who is speaking.
- Avoidance of Blending Actual Dialogue in with a Descriptive Paragraph unless absolutely necessary.
- Avoidance of Colons or Semi-colons unless absolutely necessary. I hate their use for novel writing and treat them like the plague.
Addressing Repeats and Echoes That Permeate Your Writing
I thought that if I read through my manuscript 3 or 4 times that I could adequately (oops, adverb) handle the repetitive use of similar words and spot them ‘right off the bat’ (oops, cliché). Wrong idea!
When I ran each chapter through the Pro Writing Aid Program and clicked on ECHOES (not on ALL REPEATS) I was surprised to find that I had an average of 40 to 50 close repeats (ECHOES) in each individual chapter. Amazing! I wondered how I could miss that many?
Unfortunately, it is easy to make those mistakes. In fact, I don’t see how a professional editor can get it done without the help of a computerized program. Turns out that many, if not all, do use an online checker. Something you can handle yourself if you want to spend the amount of time that it takes. And it is an exhausting effort to get it done, but so worth the trouble of it all.
I have read advice set forth by well established authors who state that your final edit should be what they call an “aggressive edit”. In other words, get rid of the fluff, tighten up your transitions from one paragraph to the next, make chapter breaks where necessary, plow through all the issues alluded to above, and make the text look professional as opposed to that of an uneducated rookie.
I don’t consider myself an amateur author anymore because I have learned a lot from past mistakes and applied my increased knowledge to each new article or story that I write. I have saved close to 12,000 comments on my website from some 25,000 to 30,000 visitors who like what I have to say.
All of this is hard work but it has been an enjoyable endeavor. I look forward to writing each day that I have time to do so, and sometimes, late into the night. If all this effort gives you, the reader, material to entertain or help you thrive, then it is all worthwhile.
I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!