Updated Freelance Website!

Did you know I have a freelance editing and writing website? Well, I do! I just gave it a complete makeover and would really appreciate if you checked it out.

Along with various editing and writing services, I now offer digital marketing services. If you are in need of any of those, you might find exactly what you need on my website.

Thanks!

How I Edit My Stories

Happy Friday!

In honour of Camp NaNoWriMo (which I am failing!), I thought it would be fun to share my editing process. I always like reading about how other people write and edit, and I thought it would also be a great way to inspire you to finally sit down and work on your current WIP.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy 🙂

STEP ONE: What Type of Edits Am I Doing?

This is where I like to start off on; asking myself what type of editing my story requires. If you are unaware, the three main types of editing are substantive editing (content editing), copy editing (grammar, sentence structure, etc), and proofreading (formatting errors like a missing period, sentence indentation, etc…small things). Usually, each round of edits I do contains the first two types. I will look for content mistakes as well as grammar mistakes because I find it hard to not change a misspelled word or delete a repeated word if I see one. Proofreading is always left for last though.

Some people like to focus on one at a time, and even recommend doing substantive edits first and then copy edits. I found that for me, I have a hard time ignoring the copy edits so I just do both at the same time. I will say, doing both at once does mean you have to comb through the manuscript a few extra times (sometimes), but I have not had a problem doing that with speed and efficiency. Like writing, it is important to figure out what process works best for you.

STEP TWO: Remind Yourself, or Determine Your Word Goal

As an someone who overwrites, I always write with a goal in mind but sometimes (or most of the time), I easily surpass it. Over the years, I’ve found it easier to just keep writing and worry about that later though. When I finish writing the story, I will figure out what word count I need it to be and that will be another task in the editing process.

An excellent example of this is when I was writing my Aztec story in March. My word goal was 17,000 because it was for a writing contest and that was the maximum word count. However, my final draft was 22,000 words! That is 5,000 words over the limit but yes, I did manage to cut it down to 16,999 words. That is why I recommend not worrying about your word count while writing. Just write. Even if it seems daunting, you really can get your story to wear it needs to be. When reading your story over and over, and editing it over and over, you understand what needs to be in it and what does not. So, go into editing with a word goal in mind.

STEP THREE: Set Daily or Weekly Editing Goals and a Final Deadline

I like to set a page count goal per day when it comes to editing. Although, maybe your goal is to edit for two hours every day. Figure out what works best for you, and what allows you to get your editing done in a productive and timely manner. It is then important to set a deadline. This can help you figure out what your daily or weekly goal too, if you are unsure of how much you need to get done each day/week.

Right now, I am freelance editing and working on a 220 pages manuscript. I was given a month deadline which is coming up this Sunday, but I was able to finish two rounds of edits a couple days early because I stuck to my daily goals. For the first round, my goal was to edit eight pages per day, six times a week. When it came to the second round, I wanted to edit faster so I switched my goal to 15 pages per day, five times a week. It has worked really well and as of yesterday, I was able to finish them. This allowed me to give one final skim through to make sure I did not miss anything, and not feel rushed when submitting my client the edits.

STEP FOUR: Time to Edit!

Once I figure out my plan for editing, I get right into it. I like to edit with lo-fi music playing, whether that is in my headphones or on my computer screen with the ChilledCow videos playing (if you know, you know).

I like to get all my writing related tasks done in the morning. Before, I gave myself from 9-12 but since I am not currently writing anything new (I always decide to take a break during Camp NaNoWriMo or NaNoWriMo, as I always manage to do), I have switched it to 10-12. Since I am also working with a client right now, that is my top priority so I like to work on that first thing. It takes me anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour to get my editing done for the day. It’s nice to have a schedule because then you aren’t spending your whole day editing! As a writer and overall creative person, you have other projects to devote time to. Having a schedule and a goal allows you to work on them.

STEP FIVE: The Final Round

Proofreading is essential and I feel like a lot of people wave it off after they finish four rounds of substantive and copy edits. However, I have caught so many mistakes while proofreading even though I had just gone over it four times before. I like to do at least one round of proofreading, but I do try to do two if I have the time. It’s is incredibly important and should not be overlooked!

If a project is short, like the one I am working on, I like to do two to three rounds of edits. However, if it is longer, I like to tack on an extra round or two. If it is already a polished manuscript though, sometimes it needs less editing because I barely found anything the first time. If it is not polished, sometimes it will need more work and care. It all depends on the project!

 

Those are all the steps I take in my editing process and I hope you found it interesting and helpful. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts because yes, I am finally posting to my Instagram again!

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Stay Home Reading Rush TBR + Tag

See the source image  Buy Me A Coffee

 

 

@zoermathers

 

 

Image result for instagram  @zoeiswriting

 

 

How To: Write A Novel

I decided to start a new category on my blog that consists of different “How To’s” because I really enjoy reading these kind of posts and I hope you guys like it too! Comment below what you think and if you want to see more like this. Also, check out my poll I created and answer it, thanks! 🙂

How to Write a Novel

Step One: Brainstorming

Create an idea that can be expanded into a novel. To do this, brainstorm different ideas and play around with them. It may take a while to decide on one but make sure it is one that you will enjoy writing about. Some different methods of brainstorming are the web, lists and point form. I personally plan out in lists because I find that I am more organized but whatever method works best for you, that is the one you should choose.

Step Two: Beginning, Middle, and End

Once you have your main idea created, start writing out a loose plan of your beginning, middle and end and some important scenes that happen in between. They do not have to be insanely detailed but just detailed enough so that you fully understand what is going on, making it easier to write it out.

Step Three: Characters

The next step to writing your novel is the characters because the characters are an extremely important aspect to your novel. If you like to draw, you can sketch out a picture of what your characters look like, along with a short description about them. A lot of authors create characters that resemble some aspects of somebody they know or met or even of themselves. I do this as well because it helps me feel more connected to my characters which is important when creating a good novel.

Step Four: Test Run

By now you should have your main idea, your plot, setting, characters and major events all mapped out. Now, I encourage you to give all your creative ideas a test run and write the first chapter of your story. Don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t sound amazing. This is your first time putting all the pieces of your story together so it will not be perfect. The idea behind this step is to see if there is anything you want to fix or change.

Step Five: First Draft

By now, you would have completed a test run of your story (a chapter or a few pages) and if you didn’t need to change or fix anything  or already did and are now fully satisfied with their idea it is time to write a first draft! Unlike the test run, this is a draft of your entire story! Novels are about 100-150,000 words so that gives you an idea of what number to get to at least. It will not be perfect but your main focus is to get your words written down. Don’t worry about editing otherwise that will slow you down, wait until the end.

Step Six: Editing

After completing your novel it is time to edit! Now editing can be somewhat enjoyable until a certain point but don’t loose interest! Keep pushing through and complete editing your entire novel because it will be worth it in the end. If you are not the greatest at editing, first try it on your own and then once you finished get someone else like a parent, teacher or friend to edit it and catch the mistakes you missed.

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial on how to write a novel! All the pictures used in this post are not mine and all rights are too the original creators.