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Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tuesday Tip - 3 Ways I Read for Editing

Reading your own book is something novelists must do over and over. After the first draft is written, here are the three ways I read to edit. I find a method whilst I am re-reading helps me to focus.

1. Character Viewpoint. Go through the text from each of the character's points of view. This might mean three or four different reads. In a long novel you can read each part that features that character; this will reveal inconsistencies or conundrums that you will need to look at, and make you work out what the character is doing between scenes in a bit more depth.

2.Theme. This focuses on the main theme. Read it again looking for ways to highlight or emphasise the theme. I also look to see if the theme is expanding naturally through the book.

3. "Person who knows nothing about it" read. This is the most important because you have to imagine you are a reader who knows nothing at all about the book or the subject. It helps me if I imagine another person reading it. Yes, you've got it - create another character in your head as dissimilar to yourself as possible and then imagine her/him reading the book.

Suggestions anybody?


  1. Great tips! I actually enjoy this part of the process the most, but before I hunker down to edit, I make sure to let my MS "cool off" for a while so that I can look at it with a fresh eye :)

  2. I like editing too. I think the most valuable piece of advice I've ever read about the process is 'read your work aloud' - you pick up poor sentence-rhythms, overwriting and repetitions far more easily by ear than by eye. It also lets you in to your novel in a different way - I guess we all write by eye but I, at least, need to edit by ear.

  3. Hi Alis and Samantha,thanks for your suggestions. Reading aloud - yes I like to do that too, that's when I realise when the people sound stilted or too literary. And i rnjoy editing so often I do not let my MS cool enough!