Julie Coulter Bellon class on self-editing was wonderful! Oh how I wish I could make her notes into a booklet and make it mandatory reading before submission. (Julie, we should talk. . .)
I cannot tell you how many manuscripts I’ve rejected over the years due to the issues Julie discussed in her class. (Lots and lots.) Too many errors will cause a good story to be rejected simply because of the time it would take to clean it up.
Julie covered basic editing (CLAW—4 Secrets to Self-Editing) and Deep Editing. Just a few of the items she mentioned were:
- Spelling and grammar errors—run your spelling and grammar check but don’t rely on it to find all the mistakes.
- Watch out for too many adverbs and adjectives, inconsistent tense and subject/verb confusion, clichés and repititious words, and POV problems.
- Let others read your mss before sending it out.
- Print and read a hard copy. On-screen editing is not good enough.
- Take a break (days or weeks) and come back to it when your eyes are fresh.
- Create a checklist of things to look for that are specific to you—your favorite overused words and phrases, your problem areas.
- Create a big picture checklist, covering things like voice, chapter hooks, character motivation, story timeline and other things an editor will be looking for.
It’s very important to send your very best, highly polished work out.