Now that’s you’ve finished writing your novel or short story, and created interesting characters, and developments in plot, it’s time to self-edit your work it so that you can submit it to magazines, agents or publishers. Since most writers can’t afford to hire editors to do this for them, it’s important to learn how to self-edit your fiction. Just follow these steps and soon you can send your work out for publication.
Correct any grammar problems or spelling errors in your fiction not only by using a word processing program, but also by reading it line-by-line since word processors often miss words that are spelled correctly but used incorrectly.
Check for any sentence structure problems such as fragments or run-ons in your story and correct them. Most word processors point out fragmented sentences, but not ones which run-on or are over long, reading “The Elements of Style” can help you with this.
Look for any unnecessary or overused words or phrases and remove them. Read your work out loud to hear any problem areas. If you pause or stumble while reading that usually signals that there’s something wrong.
Look for plot holes or any problem areas in character development and fix them. Often while writing the first draft these things can be over looked or rushed through. Take the time ask questions about plots, motivation and character development and answer them in your story.
If you want to break rules with your fiction, it’s best to know what those rules are to begin with, so study “The Elements of Style,” before proclaiming your writing as innovative when it really isn’t.
It takes time and patience to self-edit your work, so don’t rush through it. One of the best pieces of advice I have received is something I’m going to pass on to you; do not to fall in love with your writing. Doing so will make it all but impossible for you to edit your work. Instead, look at your work honestly, so that you can find any problems and fix them. Editors and publishers won’t take your work seriously if you submit it with grammar problems misspelled words or sentence structure issues.