Anyone that thinks writing is easy and fun doesn’t have a clue what it really takes to complete a novel. Sure, anyone can write a first draft and send it out without bothering to self-edit or hire an editor, but it’s not going to be very good or error free. Writing isn’t easy and doing self-edits isn’t fun.
I’m in the process of finishing 3 books, all part of the same series. It has been a long, tedious process, especially all the rounds of self-editing I’ve had to do. I am close to finished. Yay. I don’t know if there is an easier way to self-edit, but I do it in layers. This takes longer but gets the job done. The main things I am looking for when I go through one of my stories is overused words or phrases because that’s my bad habit. I’m also filling in details, characters and story details--what I call the “frosting” to my “book cake.” This is where I am looking for plot holes or any inconsistencies. I’m making sure the opening has a hook, that the story flows to that dark moment and final climax.
It’s a lot to look for so I have to do several rounds of self-edits. I’m done when I can read through the story and not have to fix anything or only have to fix a small amount. And once I’m finished with the self-edits, I’m going to have a professional proofreader look it over. Authors should never do final edits on their stories. Never. We are too close to our work to find all the typos. Final edits are the edits done before publishing. I can self-edit well enough to have a clean manuscript to submit to a publisher. Some authors might need to have their stories edited before submitting to a publisher. You have to know your weaknesses. I have been writing for a long time and know what I can and cannot get away with doing.
Some of the things I see in manuscripts as an editor are overused crutch words like when, as, once, that, with, etc. “When and “as” usually appear in passive sentences or sentences where the reaction comes before the action. One thing I’ve noticed is that every author, no matter how talented they are, always have at least one bad habit. That’s why it’s important to use at least a proofreader for typos and grammar. They will also catch most of the things like overused words and passive voice. An editor will look for the same things as a proofreader plus things like plot holes and flow problems.
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
Two mortals are caught in the midst of the battle between the Titans and Olympian gods.