Editing Tips #4

book on a white wooden table
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Continuing with my tips for the second round of edits. After I get storyline worked on, I rework description and dialogue. And after I know all these details of my book, I work on my pitch. 

Starting with description. Each setting should feel different from each other. You need to know all the details of a room, even if you only tell one or two to the reader. 

Work through each setting and list what you notice with all five senses. Then you’ll see how you can work it into the dialogue or exposition between the talking. 

And don’t forget to factor in the weather. 

Characters also need their fair share of description. I’m not saying tell the reader every detail of their outfit or which brand of makeup they’re wearing (unless it’s relevant), but let us know who has curly hair or maybe which one is over six feet tall. Those details can help build up an image in the reader’s mind. 

While we’re on the topic of characters, we’ll switch to dialogue work. When you’re finding your characters, they should all sound unique to you. And if they sound unique to you, they should sound like that to your readers as well. 

Pick out verbal tics for your characters to make them distinct. One can swear, one can say ‘whoopsie daisy’ when she drops things, one can say ‘k, bye’ every time they hang up the phone, and so on. As long as they’re the only one who does it, it will work to distinguish them from other characters. 

And once I’m confident in the work I’ve done through this draft, I want to narrow down my pitch. 

I start with a broad description of the story, five or six sentences. And then I shrink it down. The goal is to have one sentence that totally encapsulates the story. If you can find one great sentence that can portray the mood, the stakes, and the theme of your story, you’re doing great. 

That pretty much wraps up my second round of edits. After all this prep work, I go through and do any rewrites that are necessary. I fill in any scenes that might be missing to explain plot points or timeline issues. I build up my descriptions. And then I’m ready to move onto the next stage. Line edits. We’ll dive into those in next month’s post. 

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Thank you so much for reading!

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