This blog was featured on 05/04/2017
Six Editing Tips & Tools for First Drafts
Contributor

I want to share the process I used while writing the draft for my next novel because it progressed smoothly. I wrote using some familiar writing tools and editing software we've all heard of. They have a low bar for the learning curve, low cost or free, and they make our writing easier and better. I'll be using the same process when I do the rewrites to make the manuscript ready for an editor's desk.

My Process to write the first draft:

  1. Write the draft using Scrivener to help create a cohesive story line using the tools available in the software, which include: * Cork Board to see all the chapters/scenes at once glance, * the ability to make tags and labels to make status and POV, etc. anything your heart desires, * tracking the project's total word count and daily targets which are great motivators to stay on track. * Resource areas to keep your character profiles, settings, and research material all within reach. There are many other useful tools in this versatile and helpful software, use your imagination. * You can export a file to view in Excel on the screen and note your progress or print it out if you prefer another visual that's hands on.
  2. Next, when finished writing the rough draft, compile the project into a Word docx file.
  3. Use the editor in Word software for easy fixes like spelling mistakes.
  4. Next, use the Grammarly editing software which can be loaded directly into your Word software. When using Grammarly the Word editor is turned off, but the program gives many more insights, like overused words, split infinitives, potentially mistaken word choices like peek instead of pique, and much more.
  5. Next step, take each chapter separately and paste it in the Hemingway App software for desktop and review and make changes as appropriate to make the manuscript clear and concise. This software is available free however with the free version you can only use small bits of the story. I highly recommend the small investment. This software finds the overuse of adverbs, passive voice, and identifies laborious and hard to read sentences, and grades the sentence structure on ease to understand. That's our goal.
  6. When the first draft is finished, load it into Jutoh software and create a quick eBook (no worries about metadata, etc. yet). If you don't use Jutoh to format your eBooks (you should because it's a great formatting software), then you could use another program like Calibre a freeware.

Now you're ready to read it in a different format on an iPad, kindle, tablet or phone. Reading on another device makes it easier to see where you may need a transition, less or more in a scene, a missing scene, or the little darling that needs to be killed altogether. You can share it with a Beta reader(s) at this point to get fresh eyes on it, too. Let someone else read it while you take a break.

That's what I did; last week I took a vacation. Watch for more information about that in a future post . . . 

A few other editing tips from Pros:

One Step Closer

I’m very excited about finishing the draft of my next novel, In The Woods. It's a murder mystery. I enjoyed creating the protagonist, Samantha Tremblay. She’s a Vermont Forest Ranger who’s involved with solving a murder after she stumbles across a dead body in the woods. Samantha has her personal quest as well, finding her Abenaki roots. I hope to represent that group of people as best I can and I'm enjoying the research. We all want to know who we are, where we come from, but for Native Americans, it’s often a difficult path.

Of course, there's more editing for me to do in the second round, but after the vacation break, I can begin looking at the story again with fresh eyes. Stepping back is an editing practice highly preached and for good reason. Let the brain (the little gray cells) rest to gain back perspective, it works!

Keep Reading – Keep Writing!

 

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