What I’m Learning from Editing My Own Book

The first novel I ever completed took me approximately a year to finish. I am proud to say that I am able to do that in between my bus rides, boring lectures, and in between classes (remembering all the tiny giggles as I write in public makes me red >_<). In some way, writing my book has enabled me to let the creative juice going by constantly writing dramatic plot points and saucy romance (take note: it’s a new adult genre *wink wink*).

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I have come to a decision to edit my book because for one, it’s a first draft. And while first drafts are meant to suck anyway that it makes you want to burn your book and never open it again, I’m glad I am able to at least get into the completion of the first draft because this is an opportunity to improve. It took a lot, and I mean a lot of effort, time, and dedication to finish a ninety-thousand-word novel.

Although I proof-read my work before posting it on Wattpad, sometimes mistakes slip my tired eyes. Now that I am entirely available all summer, I’m ready to give this book my full attention and every ounce of proof-reading knowledge I got (with few cups of coffee and possibly a shot of tequila on the side).

I’m ready to delve into the abyss known as self-editing…

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Here are two things I picked up along the way:

#1: Self-editing is hard work so either suck it up and get something done, or crawl back into your cave and swear to never read the book ever again.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love my book and I’m very proud of it, but sometimes, there are moments where I go “what in the world was I thinking?” or “wow, this is so bad I don’t know why people read this.” Being self-critical is not a bad thing. I think it’s a good trait when one is being self-critical because it shows that one is aware of their mistake, and they are willing to fix that mistake and improve.

However, the joy of editing is that I am able to go back and assess my characters and their motivations. Initially I thought my characters are the best fictional characters I have ever made, but now that I’m actually reading everything slowly without any sort of pressure from my readers, I have tweaked my not-so-strong female lead (because yay feminism) and some character mixed up. Can you believe that I switched my own characters?

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#2 Purple Prose is worst my enemy

Purple Prose essentially is the excessive description of something, and the purpose of this is to focus the reader’s attention to the object being described. Is this a bad thing? Technically, yes. In literary criticism, purple prose is a distraction and it takes away the joy of reading and enjoying the book because of over describing something.

For example, in my book, I described the weather too, too much, and oh my god, the eyes. UGH. If I do a shot of vodka of how many times I described “cerulean orbs” throughout my book, I may be dead by now. No wonder my book is over 90k words…

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I know, I know, this is nothing at the moment in comparison to real novel editors out there, and I will be going through hell some more. But a broke student such as myself cannot afford editing services, so I have to endure the pains of self-editing. I’m only about half way until I finish editing the entire book. Maybe I should get a beta reader next?

Who knows?

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