A Fine Polish

The very last thing to check off your list of editing is to make sure you manuscript is finely polished. Make it shine, make it tight, make it better than the last fiction book you read. If you are unsure if you've really gotten there here are a few techniques for finding out if you have achieved a fine polish on your prose.

One, have you gone through all of the editing steps? Made sure the story works ? (Check) Made sure the tension works? (Check) Made sure the prose sounds nice? (Check) Then chances are you're done. But, in order to make sure I have one last tip for you guys to use when you are editing to make sure you've found all of your mistakes, both big and small. Read it out loud. 

This is where my other job as an audiobook narrator has really helped me to polish my books. First of all, there is no excuse for you not recording, at least a few sections of your book, and listening back to. I offer that you should read at the very least, the opening passage, the first wrinkle (or test) in the plot, the climax and the final passage. This marks four different areas of your book and should give you a good idea of what your best writing sounds like. Then listen back to it. You might be a bad narrator, but, if you can't read it out loud, then there is something wrong with your prose. It needs to change. 

It is easier to hear the rhythm of your work when you speak it out loud. It's easier to catch mistakes, and it forces you to read your work more slowly than you would normally. This is a great tool, even if you don't want to record yourself.

Now mark your mistakes and keep going until you get to the end of the novel. Go back, correct, repeat. This will really help your work sound like you have been edited by a professional, even if your budget for editing is zero.

Do this for each and every single manuscript, and you will greatly improve your writing. Great writing is a craft. Acquiring skill takes time. But just like any other craft, learn to use your tool well and the end will be something unique and worth sharing.



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