An Editing Key Towards a Better Book

So last week I was editing the final ARC of Instrumental Kings when I started picking up so many mistakes and things I wanted to add or cut out and change, which I had somehow neglected in the million other editing rounds I’d previously done. And it’s fine. Because I wrote Instrumental Kings way before Instrumental Queens, so my writing is much different and much better now. So I chose to ignore them, especially because this was the final ARC but the first few pages I did edit, were filled in red ink all over. And so I came up with an ‘editing key’ for future editing to make my book better.

What this basically consists of is words and their abbreviations that I write atop the paragraphs/words/sentences they fit on. For example, if a sentence is really overloaded with unnecessary details, I’d write ‘w.d’ over it, meaning ‘wordiness’. So here I have a couple of similar things that can help you with making the book better.

Of course, a disclaimer, like always, this is just the things I’ve found to be really problematic in my writing style, you can add or cut out things as you like it, but this is the key that I mainly use. Also, I’m not claiming to be a really good writer or anything, this is just things I’ve picked up along the way.

An Editing Key Towards a Better Book

REDUNDANCY (R.D)

Redundancy means repetition. It means when you’re repeating the same thing except in a different way or maybe even the same way – in any case, you’re repeating what you’ve just said.

For example, the first line of Instrumental Kings is I drove to college with the windows rolled down. Then, a few lines later, in which I discuss the weather, it’s repeated again, I drove to my college. That is redundancy. Repetition. So I wrote a small ‘r.d’ over it and cut out the repetition.

WORDINESS (W.D)

Wordiness is similar to unnecessary elongation (see below), except it just means extra description that you don’t need. Everything is clear without a word or line being there. In many cases, this can also mean redundancy.

For example, a sentence in Instrumental Kings goes, There was no noise except the occasional drip of the moisture, indicating last night’s rain – how could I be so absent minded not to have noticed the rain? In this sentence, the entire part after the dash in unnecessary. First of all, since the rain happened at night, the character must have been sleeping, so he couldn’t have noticed it anyway. Secondly, it’s not relevant and the sentence would be better off without it.

CONTINUITY ERROR (C.E)

Continuity error means two sentences don’t connect well together. They lack a certain word or a punctuation that will make them flow naturally and it won’t look unnatural and confusing to read. This mostly happens with long sentences that are joined together.

For example, a character Instrumental Kings says, I could not believe how I could be such a coward and staying away longer only made it worse. These sentences don’t connect. There’s something off about them. They don’t roll out of your tongue when you read them. What they’re lacking is a little word and a full stop. So, the edited version now says, I could not believe how I could be such a coward. Besides, staying away longer only made it worse. That’s much better.

EXCESSIVE DRAMA (E.D)

I hate this in books. This is basically when a sentence is too dramatic to fit the vibe of a scene or book. It’s really cringey and weird. I had a lot of this in Instrumental Kings.

A line goes, I lay there, staring at the clouds, relaxing my soul. That last part, relaxing my soul, is excessive drama. It doesn’t feel fit to go into the scene and it just makes it really cringey and makes it sound like something it’s not. This is one of my pet peeves in books.

NARRATION ERROR (N.E)

Tense error means switching from one tense to another, or from first-person to third or something like that. This can be really hard to manage especially if you’re trying out a new tense or style. But be wary of it and keep your eyes peeled. It’s really easy to do. Another thing is when you’re writing multiple POVs, you can sometimes slip into another character’s POV at times, and also be aware of that.

I’m going to use the same sentence here, how could I be so absent minded not to have noticed the rain? Again, because the rain has happened last night, it should have been, how could I have been so absent minded not to have noticed the rain? I don’t know, really. I’m not an English Connoisseur, but I think the second one sounds better.

EXCESSIVE ELONGATION (E.E)

Essentially, this means the unnecessary elongation of a sentence/paragraph/scene that wouldn’t have made a difference to the main story. These can range anywhere from sentences to paragraphs to chapters.

For example, this paragraph: When I returned to my room, I was hungry. I was tired of fish and chips, so I went to the drive thru at McDonalds. I couldn’t think of anything to eat, and I always hated burgers. I had already had chips. So I took some nuggets and a McFlurry and returned home, carefully lying down on the bed cover. First of all, this paragraph, if I had to keep it, for some reason, would have been much better, detailed and different. But it is just unnecessary and leads you right back to the main thing, especially when the last page just mentioned that he packed food with him. So now, the edited version, is this: When I returned to my room, I collapsed on the bed cover. That’s it. All of that long unnecessary hassle gone.

This is also key to make sure your readers don’t lost interest.

PLOT ERROR (P.E)

This means that there is a loophole in the plot. And it effects the entire story and makes it meaningless. This can either be really big or really small. These can be really hard to spot, so keep your eyes peeled for this too.

For example, in Instrumental Kings, we talk about the main character going to college for two days in the week and skipping one day. Which means, if school started on Monday, it is now Thursday. The protagonist mentions how a named character is absent from college. The next line says, He didn’t show up the next day either. This means he didn’t show up on Friday either. The next line reads And the next. First, it should have been or the next. Secondly, this means he didn’t show up on Saturday, and there is no college on Saturday. That is a minor loophole in the writing/plot.

 

And that’s it! I hope you picked up some things from this, and if you did make sure you share this post and drop a comment, leaving any other things you think I missed. Also, all of the examples I mentioned above will not be edited when Instrumental Kings comes out, because I wanted to preserve a little bit of the original work. So keep that in mind. Instrumental Kings will have mistakes. But with that being said, I’ll see you next time. Bye!

 

Share:

6 Comments

  1. Sarah Kh
    June 2, 2017 / 10:23 am

    About the (E.D), my writing style is actually quite dramatic itself and I like sentences or books with more of a dramatic feeling. Drama doesn’t always make a scene feel cringey and weird. It might even make it better. 🙂 Not that I’m trying to contradict you or anything, just what I think.

    • June 3, 2017 / 5:51 pm

      Yes I agree. But that depends on the story and the atmosphere of the scene, I think. Sometimes drama is required, but for this particular scene, it wasn’t anything very intense or important, so the drama is making it cringey and weird and is unnecessary.

  2. Sarah Kh
    June 2, 2017 / 10:38 am

    Also, you extract from Instrumental Queens is kinda dramatic: 😛
    “Black was her favourite colour. She loved it firstly, because she loved the silent nights in her village punctuated by the chirping of the crickets, and she loved looking at the sky, the stars equidistant from each other. She had learnt that it was very rare for the stars to be equidistant. Secondly, because darkness was so silent that she could think of new ideas and new things in abundance, without someone reading her thoughts by reading her face.”

    • Sarah Kh
      June 2, 2017 / 10:39 am

      your*

    • June 3, 2017 / 5:52 pm

      Yeah. But again, it works with the scene. The line I mentioned in the post is just odd on the page and does’t blend in.

  3. Sarah Kh
    October 7, 2017 / 10:05 am

    Are you working on a new blog post? Waiting eagerly. 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *