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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Guest Post: My Eight Stages of Editing

Today, I'm handing the mic over to Victoria Grace Howell of Wanderer's Pen, who's been kind enough to write up a post on editing for me! So without further ado, here's Victoria...



I’ve edited over ten books and it took me about that many books to finally find a method of editing that allows me to be both thorough and to edit in an efficient amount of time. It typically takes me about a year to complete a book—and that includes editing. Some people do their editing by hand, but I prefer to do all of mine digitally. After I’ve made a rough outline then written my first draft, I go through these steps.
Let my book sit six or more weeks – I always let my book rest for a period of time. Usually, during this time I work on another book. This allows me to distance myself from the story and come back to it with fresh eyes.
First Read Over and Takes Notes – I read over my entire book in about a week and take notes on anything major I believe needs fixing. Not grammar or sentence structure yet, but plot, characters, settings, etc. I also like to take notes while writing my first draft to fix later. This is when I also go through those as well.
Make a Plan and Do Any Research – Then I go about making a new game plan and adjusting my outline as needed. I also do any research I need to here. Often, I discover more things I need to research during my first draft.
Rewrite the Book While Looking at the Old Copy and Notes – Scrivener is very handy for this, because I can split the screen, so I can see both documents I’m working on at once. I like to rewrite my old draft, filling in my problems, and many a time I expand areas.
Let the book sit again – I let my book rest for another six weeks.
Reread and take notes – I reread again and focus on smaller issues like inconsistencies and using a certain word too many times like “there,” “was,” and “some.”
Microedit – This is when I go through and focus on cutting unnecessary words, restructuring sentences, consistency, and grammar.
Send to Betas then Edit Again – I send my book off to betas. Then I go through what they’ve said and edit accordingly. Sometimes this means I have to do a major do over, sometimes this means it’s ready enough to send to publishers and agents who have requested the book.
There you have it. That’s my editing process. I’ve done this also with flash fiction on a much smaller scale, mind you, and one of those flash fictions was recently published in a magazine. Everyone has their own methods, but this is the method that is the most effective for me.
How do you edit? Do you use any of my methods? Do you have any special tricks?

About the Author

Image provided by Victoria Grace Howell.

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.

You can connect with Victoria via her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. Replies
    1. Sure thing, Victoria! It's been a pleasure having you!!

  2. Loved reading about your editing process, Victoria! I'll have to use some of your advice - especially letting the book sit. I'm normally too impatient to do that, but (in the few times that I actually have done it) I've found out how helpful it is.

    ~ Savannah

    1. I agree! It really seems like a good idea to let your mind rest from a particular story so you can come back to it with fresh eyes. :)

  3. I'm editing right now, thanks for sharing!

  4. This is a helpful strategy for editing, Victoria!


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