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Editing Tools

Don’t Forget To Edit: NaNoWriMo Tip #30

Congratulations to all the National Novel Writing Month writers in the GalleyCat audience for surviving another year with the writing marathon. Romance writers can even consider submitting your NaNoWriMo novel to Avon Impulse. But don’t forget–you still need to edit!

In 90 days, you should take the National Novel Editing Month challenge and clean up your masterpiece. Follow this link to explore our growing collection of editing tools as well.

Here’s more about NaNoEdMO: “Have you written a 50,000 word novel but haven’t edited it yet? Then you’ve come to the right place! It is here that people from all over the world gather together to spend 50 hours in March editing their novels. This is not as easy as it might sound but the forums are available to get advice and ask all the important questions you may have. Advice from real published authors will also be here to help you and a certificate of completion awaits each winner at the end of the month.”

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Mediabistro Course

Novel Writing: Editing Your Draft

Novel Writing: Editing Your DraftStarting July 16, workshop your novel in-progress with a published author! Erika Mailman's course will function as a workshop, with the emphasis on sharing your work for review and providing critiques for your peers. By the end of this class you'll have up to 75 pages of you novel workshopped and developed patterns to improve your writing. Register now! 

How To Use Craigslist as an Editing Tool

Self-published novelist Matthew Mather used Craigslist as his “secret weapon” for editing his novel.

Since he released his first science fiction novel in August, Mather has counted over 40,000 downloads of The Complete Atopia Chronicles. This week, he shared his free SHAKESPEARE system for self-published authors, including his Craigslist tip.

Check it out: “If your work is not edited well, you will get killed in the reviews and by word of mouth. Go on Craigslist and find some recently-graduated (and unemployed) English lit majors to edit your book on the cheap. A ‘real’ editor can be extremely expensive; while the quality may not be perfect, hiring unemployed English-lit majors can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars. There is no excuse to not get an external editor of some kind, and not getting one will kill your chances of success.”

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DocuToss Helps Writers Seek Editing Advice

DocuToss is a free platform for sharing your writing with other readers and finding first readers for your work.

You can upload your story, script or term paper, seeking edits from readers interested in that kind of writing. The site was created by a first-year law student and needs more contributors to grow. What do you think of the simple interface?

Check it out: “This site provides a platform for users to receive feedback and editing advice.  The service is completely free and facilitated by a simple reciprocity system. In order to receive feedback you must also review files other people have uploaded. All feedback is rated, so that over time you end up only exchanging with users who provide feedback of the same quality that you provide others. Our privacy policy is simple: we will never sell any of your data and we don’t want to collect any of it ourselves.” (Via Reddit)

Celebrate National Novel Editing Month with Kurt Vonnegut Story Grids

To celebrate National Novel Editing Month, we’ve reprinted a writing tool from a great novelist. In a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, blogger Derek Sivers reproduced a series of story grids that the great novelist made during a New York City lecture.

Follow this link to see all the charts. These story grids are invaluable tools during the editing process.   Writers can chart their manuscript against popular and successful story arcs–deciding how much they want to deviate from a classic structure.

Here’s more about the “Cinderella” grid embedded above: “It starts with her awful life with evil stepsisters, scrubbing the fireplace. Then she get an invitation to the ball! Things look up. Then the fairy godmother makes her a dress and a coach. Even better! Then she goes to the ball, and dances with the prince! This is great! But then it’s midnight. She has to go. Oh no. Sadness. Back to her humdrum life scrubbing the fireplace. But it’s not as bad as before, because she’s had this encouraging experience. Then, the prince finds her, and the happiness factor is off the chart! Happily ever after.

Kirkus Launches Editing Division For Self-Published Authors

Kirkus has launched a new book editing division. The new service will provide editing, copyediting, proofreading and copywriting services for unpublished and self-published authors.

The book editing division follows the success of Kirkus Indie, the company’s review program for self-publishers. Meg Kuehn, COO of Kirkus explained in the release: “Offering book editing services is a natural extension of our brand. We’ve been notorious for our high editorial standards for decades, and our success working with independent authors in the Kirkus Indie program paved the way for new author services that serve this fast-growing segment of the industry.”

Editors looking to participate in the Kirkus program must have experience working at a big six publisher or at an “award-winning” independent press such as Graywolf, Kensington or Abrams.

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Band-Aid Editing Tips Before Querying an Agent

In a blog post, Curtis Brown literary agent Sarah LaPolla (pictured, via) recommended five “band-aid editing” tips for fixing a manuscript before sending it to an agent.

LaPolla first advised that authors avoid sentences that begin with a conjunction. Here is an excerpt from the post: “Sometimes standalone sentences that begin with ‘And’ can be used for emphasis. And that’s OK. Other sentences, however, can end up sounding like a mere continuation of the previous sentence, making them sound weaker in comparison.”

LaPolla’s other tips elaborate on how to steer clear of weak sentences, redundant points, and the passive voice. Can you think of other “band-aids” that would be helpful? (via Elizabeth S. Craig)

EditMinion: The Robotic Copy Editor

Tired of having your writing club or spouse read the same common mistakes over and over? Try using the EditMinion–the robotic copy editor will spot common mistakes before you send your copy to a real human reader.

Here’s more from the site: “EditMinion is a robotic copy editor to help you refine your writing by finding common mistakes. To get started, paste a chapter of writing into the box below and click Edit! Don’t paste too much or the script will stop responding. This is still very much in Beta and I’ll be adding features as I come up with them. If you have suggestions, tweet @DrWicked or email imp[at]editminion[dot]com. Thanks!”

March is National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo), a time for writers with unpolished manuscripts to clean up their copy–a good opportunity to revisit your National Novel Writing Month work. To celebrate this month of editing, we are sharing an editing tool every day.