Tag Archives: copyedit

How do I copyedit my book?

I’ve had a lot of questions about publishing lately, so I thought I’d take a second and answer one of the biggies.

How do I copyedit my book?

One of the most common ways to vet your book is to recruit beta readers to give honest feedback. Avoid people who tell you it’s great. You need to know where story has gone wrong so that you can improve the rough bits.

Fix logic bombs. If it doesn’t make sense, figure out a way to explain it or remove the section.

Sometimes you need to scrap a scene to save a story. Don’t be afraid to be brutal with your book. Take a critical look at everything that happens in your tale in point form, and if there are bits that are not critical to moving the story ahead ask yourself if they really need to be in there. Trim the fat.

When I re-read my work, I look for bumps – that’s what I call something that knocks me out of my story. Sometimes its an awkward sentence, or a word. Fix these.

Go through all your dialogue and remove every word that ends in “ly”, she said snidely, angrily, happily, sadly. If the sentence doesn’t read as snide, angry, happy or sad, no amount of adverbs are going to save it. ReWrite.

Make sure your scene is set. Think of the senses. What does your character see, hear, taste, touch, sense/feel? What is the light like? Is it hot/cold? Look for a way to integrate the setting into what your character challenge in the scene is. Can the setting mirror their experience in some way?

Here’s an exercise: write a scene using only dialogue, that gives emotional context and reveals the setting of the scene, without using any qualifiers or adverbs, no narration.

Good luck and let me know how you make out!

L.G.A. McIntyre