How to Edit Your Book Like a Pro

How to Edit Your Book Like a Pro

How to Edit Your Manuscript Like a Pro

Editing is an essential skill for any author who wants to improve their craft and increase their chances of getting published. Editing can help you polish your writing, eliminate errors, and enhance your message. There are different types of editing, each with its own purpose and benefits. In this article, The Ghostwriting Founder experts cover three main types of editing: copyediting, line editing, and content editing. We will also give you some tips and examples on how to edit your manuscript like a pro.

How to Edit Like a Copyeditor

Copyediting is the process of checking your manuscript for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and consistency. Copyediting can help you avoid embarrassing mistakes, ensure clarity, and follow the rules of your chosen style guide. Here are some tips on how to edit like a copyeditor:

  • Use a spell checker and a grammar checker, but don’t rely on them completely. They can miss some errors or suggest incorrect changes. Always proofread your manuscript carefully and use your own judgment.
  • Be consistent in your spelling, capitalization, hyphenation, and formatting. For example, if you use American spelling, don’t switch to British spelling in the middle of your manuscript. If you use italics for emphasis, don’t use bold or underlining for the same purpose.
  • Follow the rules of punctuation, but don’t overuse it. Punctuation can help you create meaning, rhythm, and tone in your writing, but too much punctuation can make your writing confusing or annoying. For example, don’t use multiple exclamation points or question marks at the end of a sentence. Don’t use commas where they are not needed, or omit them where they are needed.
  • To illustrate common mistakes and how to fix them. For example, here is a sentence with spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors:

Its a well know fact that alot of people dont like there job’s.

Here is the same sentence after copyediting:

It’s a well-known fact that a lot of people don’t like their jobs.

How to Edit Like a Line Editor

Line editing is the process of improving the readability, flow, and organization of your manuscript. Line editing can help you make your writing more engaging, coherent, and effective. Here are some tips on how to edit like a line editor:

  • Use strong verbs, avoid clichés, and switch to active voice. Strong verbs can make your writing more vivid, precise, and dynamic. Clichés can make your writing dull, predictable, and unoriginal. Active voice can make your writing more direct, clear, and concise. For example, here is a sentence with weak verbs, clichés, and passive voice:

The book was written by a famous author and it gave me a lot of food for thought.

Here is the same sentence after line editing:

A famous author wrote the book and it challenged my thinking.

  • Vary your sentence structure, length, and rhythm. Sentence variety can make your writing more interesting, lively, and natural. Too many short sentences can make your writing choppy and boring. Too many long sentences can make your writing complex and confusing. A mix of short and long sentences can create balance and contrast. For example, here is a paragraph with monotonous sentence structure, length, and rhythm:

I love reading books. Books are my best friends. Books make me happy. Books teach me new things. Books entertain me.

Here is the same paragraph after line editing:

Reading books is my passion. They are my best friends, my source of happiness, my teachers, and my entertainers.

  • To show how to use strong verbs, avoid clichés, and switch to active voice. For example, here is a paragraph with weak verbs, clichés, and passive voice:

The sun was shining brightly and the birds were singing sweetly. It was a perfect day for a picnic. A basket was packed by Mary and she went to the park with her boyfriend. They had a lot of fun and enjoyed themselves.

Here is the same paragraph after line editing:

The sun shone brightly and the birds sang sweetly. A perfect day for a picnic. Mary packed a basket and went to the park with her boyfriend. They had fun and enjoyed themselves.

How to Edit Like a Content Editor

Content editing is the process of enhancing the plot, characters, and theme of your manuscript. Content editing can help you create a compelling story, develop realistic and relatable characters, and convey a meaningful message. Here are some tips on how to edit like a content editor:

  • Redefine the point of your book. What is the main idea or message that you want to share with your readers? What is the purpose or goal of your writing? How does your book fit into your genre or category? Make sure that your point is clear, relevant, and original.
  • Dig into your characters. Who are your main characters and what are their motivations, goals, conflicts, and arcs? How do they relate to each other and to the plot? How do they change and grow throughout the story? Make sure that your characters are consistent, believable, and memorable.
  • Edit for pacing. How does your story move from the beginning to the end? How do you balance action, dialogue, description, and exposition? How do you create tension, suspense, and climax? How do you resolve the main conflict and wrap up the loose ends? Make sure that your pacing is appropriate, smooth, and satisfying.
  • To demonstrate how to redefine the point of the book, dig into your characters, and edit for pacing. For example, here is a summary of a book with a vague point, flat characters, and poor pacing:

Conclusion

Editing is a vital skill for authors who want to improve their writing and get published. By applying the tips and examples in this article, you can edit your manuscript like a pro and make it shine.