It is oh so nice to have a group of people standing by to read your work and give feedback. But be warned: If you give them something that is not the best it can be at the time, you may find your feedback relates more to the superficial stuff .
I have some folks lined up and thought I’d be ready to go after I finished the 3rd draft of The Cloud Chamber.
Then I read my manuscript. Hoo boy.
It occurred to me that those reading would stumble on the same things I was stumbling on as I read through my latest draft. I didn’t want my beta readers to be looking for misspellings or grammar mechanics so much as the big picture stuff like story, character development, pacing and so on.
A blogging friend recommended Self-Editing for Fiction Writers when I trolled around for good books on writing. I’ve read it twice in the last year and will probably hit it again soon. I find that self-editing, like writing, is best learned by doing it. Over and over.
If you’re looking for some good online resources to get started, check these out:
- Writer Beware™ Blogs!: The Importance of Self-Editing
- Writers in the Sky Ezine: How to Write Tight – Self-Editing Tips to Make Your Manuscript Ready for Publication
- The Editor’s Blog: How to Self Edit
- Women on Writing: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers
That ought to give anyone enough to get started.
In the meantime, I’m finding that I very much enjoy editing though it is a slow process. It’s gratifying to see things come into focus with some cutting here and adding there. And when I’m done with this round, hopefully it translates into a better experience for my beta readers.