Writing a book? You want it to be as polished as possible. That means as few editing mistakes in your book as possible. How can you make this happen? By hiring a professional.
However, you shouldn’t skip straight to a pro. Some charge based on the initial quality of your work. By making your manuscript clean before sending it to a professional editor, you’ll save yourself some cash. You’ll also become a better writer and editor.
What mistakes should you be looking for in your writing? Here are three big ones to get you started.
Too Many Words
When it comes to editing mistakes in your book, this is top of the list. Why? Because authors have a lot to say, and they say it. Unfortunately, this is rarely a good idea.
Remember—every word written is another word to be read. Keep extra words in your book and expect a slow, painful reading experience.
Culling unnecessary words may make your book shorter, but the goal isn’t a long book or a thick spine. The goal is a great story people want to read. So get rid of every unnecessary word.
What words can you remove? Try these:
Adverbs. Most adverbs end in -ly. They add something to your writing, but that something isn’t always good. Some of the most overused adverbs include really, literally, very, and just.
That. Chop it out of a sentence. If the sentence still makes sense, leave it out. Otherwise, drop it back in.
Two-Word Verbs. This deserves its own blog post, but here’s the short version. Don’t say John was eating the apple. Say John ate the apple. It’s faster and has more punch.
The Same Words, Over and Over
Every writer has a favorite word or two. A favorite expression on a character’s face. A favorite action. These aren’t problems, until they are. Overuse of these is another one of those editing mistakes in your book to avoid.
Perhaps your characters smile, grin, or nod a lot. Or maybe they’re constantly breathing, sighing, realizing, or thinking.
Whatever your pet word, action, or expression is, learn it. Then limit it in your book. This will take some hunting, but the search feature in your writing program makes it easier.
Not sure what words you overuse? Start reading your manuscript and pick a word. Then have your writing program find every instance that word appears. Does it get too much print time? Cut it out.
Inconsistencies in Spelling, Usage, Etc.
Writing has rules. One of the biggest ones is consistency.
When hunting editing mistakes in your book, keep consistency on the top of your mind. Where do inconsistencies creep in?
Names and Titles. People, places, events, and books all have names or titles. And these names and titles don’t change. So make sure they remain the same throughout your book.
Words with Alternate Spellings. Is it orthopedic or orthopaedic? 1 Kings or I Kings? Color or colour? Both are fine. Just be consistent. Make up your mind and spell it the same way, every time.
Verb Tense. Writing your book in present tense? Hunt down any verb in past tense. Otherwise, your reader’s head is going to spin.
Avoiding Editing Mistakes in Your Book
Are there other mistakes in your book? Probably. You may need to show and not tell. You may not know when to capitalize mom and dad. Or you may get too, to, and two confused. But these three will get you started. Hunt them down in your book for better writing and more enjoyable reading.
Already edited your book? If you’re ready to publish and don’t know what to do next, Argyle Fox Publishing is here to help. Get the ball rolling by submitting your manuscript for consideration.