Let's face it. Editors can be expensive. Especially for new writers.
The more work your editor has to do, the more hours it will take to complete the process. You can easily spend a huge chunk of money on the editing process.
I do use an editor for my novels and academic papers I plan on publishing. You honestly can't substitute a pair of fresh eyes taking a look at your document. They have no preconceived notions, ideas of where it will need work or places that are well written. They are unbiased and skilled in their work.
I work as an editor and proofreader myself but I still recognize the importance of having a new, trained pair of eyes take a look at what I may think from my rose glasses of accomplishment and self-indulgence to be perfect writing. It can be hard to take criticism and it is definitely intimidating to rake through the work you poured your heart and soul into. But, that is a post for a different time.
Before I send off any of my work, I run through my own self-made checklist for editing my piece. I hope that you can find some tips that are useful for you. Let me know if you have some as well!
1. Edit the work of other people
Hopefully, you are in a writing group or have the means and desire to join one. These groups are imperative in honing your craft. You can easily collaborate with others and find people that are looking for someone to actively edit their work.
It is much easier to find things wrong or that could be done better in other people's writing than it is our own. The last time you had to correct an essay or read something over of someone else's, I bet your red pen was flying. However, it is quite different on your own work.
Get experience editing other people's work so that you can look for the same mistakes, faux pas, or clunky qualities in your own writing. If you find that many piece's suffer in depth of dialogue, make sure that you pay special attention to your own dialogue.
2. Read out loud
This is typically the first step I take in editing my own work. If you just read to yourself in your head, you may mentally skip over extra words or things that just don't fit. You can become so accustomed to what you have written that you don't truly read it at all.
Reading out loud is like looking at your writing through another lens. Hearing it will help point out any errors, winding sentences, or clunky points. This method is almost as good as getting another pair of eyes to look at your work.
3. Combine typing and handwriting
Switch it up. If you typed your work, print it out and edit with a pen and highlighter. This will force your brain to see your writing in a different way so you won't be skipping over what you may be used to reading on the screen.
If you hand wrote your work, try typing it out. You will force yourself to reread your work and will be more likely to make more edits and revisions as your brain has to process it more.
4. Don't start from the beginning
Start editing from a chapter in the middle of your book. Your senses won't be dulled by your extended reading and you will be more likely to pay attention to some parts that may get neglected on your draft. We often write very well at the beginning and then it suffers as we continue.
Try and imagine your work being read by an editor for the first time. If this chapter was the only thing they read, would the be interested? Drawn into your work? Each chapter has to continue to draw the reader in. Otherwise, you may find your book is one where many people start it and few finish.
5. Rewrite a chapter or act
If your draft become dull and uninteresting during the editing process, try taking one of your chapters and rewriting it, from beginning to end. Outline the main points and ensure you hit them hard in this version. Now that you have two versions of this chapter, it will be easy to compare and see where you may be lacking. One version may have better character development while the other truly evokes emotions. Take the best parts from both and edit your draft-or, create a third draft of the chapter.
This was just a brief guide but I hope some of these tips will help you conquer your piece. If you ever have any questions or comments, shoot me a message. I work as an editor and would be happy to answer any questions or quote you on your piece.