How to Edit Your Story – Writing Guide

Sentient Ink Logo-01After a couple of years wrestling with magical creatures, arguing with people who don’t exist, and single-handedly building an entire world, I have finished the first draft of my fantasy fiction novel The Walk of Shadows (A snippet of which you can read here). As a result, I thought I would share with you some of my editing process between now and sending it off to be read by millions, as well as some thoughts and writing tips. I should temper this by noting that I have never had a book published and these are merely my musings, along with things I have picked up from other fiction writers.

The first stage of this well-trodden path is a read through, during which I will variously believe myself to be the greatest writer ever known, and a man unable to string together a coherent sentence. I will use this stage to correct grammar and spelling, as well as deleting or rewriting anything that is a load of old arse. This will also be a time to add and delete anything, be it sentences or whole chapters, that I feel will help better the flow of the story or otherwise add depth.

The next step is to send it out to my fellow Sentient Ink writers, Messrs Chris Wright and DC Ward. It is, I think, essential to have your story or novel read by other people before sending it off, and it has to be someone who will be honest. I am very lucky in that my two best friends are also fiction writers and understand this need. They will therefore tell me what I need to be told despite knowing how much I’ll hate them for saying anything remotely negative about my baby. However careful you are, there will inevitably be things that are confusing or boring or simply unnecessary. A good beta reader or two will help fix this.

In the end, however, it is my story, and my final decision. I will go over each and every suggestion made and either make the edit or leave it as it is. I will then distribute the story to other friends and family to hopefully get the opinions of people who read for pleasure and not with as critical an eye, including my Dad, who is himself an author but not a fan of fantasy.

This time will give me the distance of probably a few weeks to a month. I can then go back to my story with fresh eyes and renewed vigour. One or two more read throughs, a touch of editing as I go, and it will be ready to be sent off to literary agents for its long long wait on the slush pile.

These are just my thoughts and I would love to hear your own processes.

By Andy Wright.

If your still well away from editing, and in fact looking for help with starting your novel or story, here’s an article on how to begin your first chapters, with advice on identifying if you should use a prologue, and how to make it effective if you do: Beginning the Beginning

Or maybe (just maybe) you’re in the mood for a serialised fantasy/action/thriller, set in an alternative early-twentieth century american city where the mafia rule the streets with more than just guns. Check out The Bleak Streets of Carrada here.

A big and hearty thanks for reading this article. If you want to hear more of our writing and editing tips in the future you can subscribe via email or just follow us on twitter. We also post our own fiction and book reviews, so have a quick browse and find another reason to subscribe.


One thought on “How to Edit Your Story – Writing Guide

  1. Pingback: Review: Mr Mercedes – Stephen King | Sentient Ink

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