Day 4: Five days, and five simple pieces of advice for new authors.
Day Four. . . Tip Four
Be prepared to edit your shit. No really, make an effort. We all just want to write and not edit, but that is not how it works. Learn the rules. We all had to do it and it was tedious for a lot of us. Hating the fine details doesn’t make you unique.
Most writers don’t love grammar.
Editors love grammar.
You still need to know it. Do you not expect someone else to just “fix it” for you in the end. Have a standard and constantly try to improve it. Study the way dialogue is laid out. Go on author boards and follow the debates. Watch the tips on YouTube. The information is all out there for free, but you need to be passionate about finding it.
Then, after you are a master of all things writing, be certain you will still have to have others edit your novel. If you cannot afford an editor and don’t have a fantastic critique partner, you better start making friends with a bunch of grammar geeks who get off on Oxford commas. As awesome as you think you are, you cannot and should not release a book without outside edits, and ideally several rounds of them. With self-publishing becoming the norm, we need to take personal responsibility for our community and part of that comes from education—so let me educate you.
When you write a novel, you will likely know every word. You’ll know the dialogue by heart. Every fight scene is like a symphony in your head. Of course you know it, you wrote it and you’ve re-read it a thousand times. You know every inch of that document.
Or so you thought. . .
What you don’t know is this, your brain will fill in, without you seeing it, all the spots you missed. It knows what is supposed to be there so well, it’ll often times fail to see blatant errors. I promise you, this is true, look it up if you don’t believe me. In order to read more quickly, your brain fills in information it already thinks it knows. So when you are reading your own book, something your brain knows better than anything, it’s twice as likely to not see the typos.
There are self-editing tips, which I’ll share in another post, but for now I’ll reiterate.
Get as smart as you can.
Then know, without a doubt, you are dumber than you think and get your novel edited before you put it out in the world.