By Rebecca Gernon

As I mentioned in my previous blog, ALL writers must learn to edit their own writing. No one else knows exactly what you are trying to convey in your article or how your characters speak, so no matter how difficult, try these tips.

1. Since many of you reading this are Christian writers, which means we write material pleasing to God, pray about your work. Ask for guidance.

2. Finish the rough draft. Most writers now use a computer. Don’t think about editing as your write, just get the story/article into a SAVED file.

3. Don’t try to edit the manuscript for several days or several weeks. You need to distance yourself from the manuscript.

4. Begin by determining if the manuscript has a beginning, middle and end? Is the plot solid? Do this on the computer. SAVE your file

5. Edit on the computer for flow and syntax. Tweak the dialogue. Keep it crisp. SAVE your file as you edit it.

6. Edit for grammar, typos, and spelling. Use more than one spell checker. I work in Word Perfect. After checking my file here, I import it into Word and run that spell checker. The programs each catch different errors. SAVE your file.

7. Print a copy of your manuscript and take out a colored pen or pencil. Correct misspelled words, typos, rearrange sections as necessary. Then make these corrections in your computer file.

8. Read the file aloud. You will HEAR errors you have missed before. OR have your file READ to you. There is a great free reader you can download. Balaboka will read a Word file to you. By listening to your manuscript it is easy to catch errors and confusion.

9. Have a beta reader, someone who reads several books a week read your manuscript. This may be another writer. Don’t ask a spouse or best friend, they can’t be objective. ALLOW your feelings to be hurt, then re-edit as necessary.

10. Consider a paid proofreader or editor if you feel your work needs additional editing.

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