How to Self-Edit and Edit Your Novel or Short Story Like a Pro

Updated on May 18, 2017
Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe is an author with three novels under agent and small pub consideration. She's been self-editing for years and knows what works.

From First Draft to Final Copy

Rough It Out With the First Draft

If you're a serious writer of fiction who has finished writing a novel, novella, or a short story, congratulations! Whether you wrote it during Nano, Camp Nano or Julno, or on your own, that's only the first stage of writing a book or a short piece of fiction. So before you want to submit it to fiction markets for short stories, or agents, editors and/or publishers for novels and novellas, there's a lot of work to do to get it polished and ready. Take a break from your novel and set it aside for a few days, a couple of weeks, or a month or two. After some time had passed, you can go back to it and look at it with two fresh eyes.

Whether you do it via hard copy or on your computer, there's a couple of ways you can self-edit and edit your novel for free ... or with some optional choices. While best-selling authors love the editing process, I tend to hate it, since it would take longer for me to get it done than when I write a novel alone. With a couple of tools of the trade, I'm going to show you how to self-edit, revise, rewrite, rework, edit, copy edit, proofread, spell check, etc., your manuscript or short story with these handy tips. So get ready to take plenty of notes to use for future reference!

The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition

Elements of Style is a must-have for all writers to have in their bookcase.

 

The Tools of the Trade

For any beginner writer, it's best for us to do self-editing alone with the rough draft and the right tools of the trade. For hard copy, print out your novel and put it in a binder. Bring plenty of red erasable pens and pencils to make notes with. For those who work on the computer, make sure you have a word processing document like Word or Scrivener that has a compare-merge function. Get ready to use the delete, backspace and strike-through keys.

It's highly recommended to check out or buy Strunk and White's Elements of Style, Renni Browne's Self-Editing For Writers, and Stephen Kings's On Writing at your local bookstore or library. You can also find back issues of Writer's Digest magazines on editing and revision, if you don't have a subscription, and check out their online articles at their website and blog, too.

You should also have a checklist by your side on what you need to cut or add in your story. Make sure you show more than tell, watch out for passive words that need to be active, make sure it's realistic and logical and flows well, check for any head-hopping POVs, and cut out any extraneous fluff that doesn't move the story forward. You might have to "kill our darlings" at some time, depending on your genre and word count, except for short stories. Don't forget to read it out loud to yourself. Or you can find a text-to-speech program for your computer, too!

One-Pass Revision

Most of us don't want to edit our manuscript many times to get ourselves into an over-editing rut. If you want to try to do it in a one-pass revision to get it done in one cycle, here's some borrowed and shortened tips from Holly Lisle's website. (This works best for hard copy, since it's way harder on your computer. I've tried it a few years ago. It doesn't work.)

You would need a print out of your novel, a cheap notebook, a couple of smooth-writing pens, stack your ms on a steady table in three piles, and plenty of good lightning.

Part One: Discovery

  1. Write down the theme of your novel in 15 words or less.
  2. If you know what your sub-themes are, write them down.
  3. In 25 words or less, write down what your ms is about.
  4. Write a one-story arc for your main character in one line.
  5. Write down the main characters and a 250-word paragraph describing the story.

Part Two: Manuscript Slog. This is when we focus on the scenes with a checklist.

  1. Does the scene belong in the story?
  2. Is the scene a story in miniature?
  3. What's the conflict?
  4. Does it contain elements that doesn't fit?
  5. Go to your notebook and write down what threads you've killed.
  6. Make notes on what new direction you took your story in.
  7. Offer suggestions about evolution and theme.
  8. Is it well-written?
  9. Does it fit logically in time and space?
  10. Is it full of weak words?
  11. Is the word count right?

Part Three: Type-In

This is where you open your notebook, look at the scribbles, and type it in your manuscript, starting with the first page. If you have new story ideas, write them down and save them for your next book.

Tips for Self-Editing 101

Whether you're planning to self-publish your own book or do it traditionally with big-name publishers, indie publishers, small publishers, or even e-publishers. There are tons of editing and self-editing tips online, if you need where to find them. Over the past year, I've compiled a list of words you can eliminate and cull your word count. On the computer, you can use the find/replace key to delete them. Also, watch out for word echoes--that's when you repeat the same word twice in the same sentence. Just change a word or take it out. Remember, the thesaurus is a writer's best friend!

Watch out for these weak filter words to prune and weed in your stories and novels! As for those -ly words, use it in moderation.

About
Able
A Lot
Almost
Always
Am*
Amazing
Anxiously
Any infinitive for to walk
Anyway
And
And then
Appear
Approximately
Are
As
Basically
Be
Being*
Been*
Believe
Best
Big
But
By
Can
Causing
Could
*Did/Does/Do
Eagerly
Even
Every
Feel/Felt
Finally
First
Frequently
*Got/Get
Had (had been)/Have/Had/Has *
Hardly
Heard
His/Her
-Ing words starting sentence
*Is
It is/it was
It seems to be/It seems to me
Just
Kind of
Like
Look as if
-Ly words esp. to modify said
Made
May
Merely
Might
More or less
Must
Nearly
Need
Never
Not
Notice (verb)
Oddly enough
Of
Often
Only
Pretty
Put
Quite
Rather
Realize
Really
Roughly
Said
Saw
Seem
Several
Shall
Short
Should
Small
Smelled
So
Some
Sort of
Still
Such
Tall
Tasted
That
Then
There was/is/are
Thing
Think

• to see
• to hear
• to think
• to touch
• to wonder
• to realize
• to watch
• to look
• to seem
• to feel (or feel like)
• to decide
• to sound (or sound like)
• to notice
• to be able to
• to note
• to experience
Touched
Tried to
Used to
Utilize
Very
Was/were
Wearing/wore
Went
When
Which
Wonderful

Quick tips: If you want some extra work, you might want to check out Autocrit.com. I've found out about that website, a few years ago. It can help you fine tune your ms or short story into a polished form. It's free to join to create an account. It can look over up to 500 words (2-3 pages) a day and would highlight any errors in red. When fixed, it can bring the number down to zero. It's perfect for those who do short stories! If you want to invest on self-editing on your partial or full manuscript, it depends on what membership you need it for. I haven't been to the website in two years. Update: I've made a mistake on the membership pricing when I went to the website two years ago. They were updating the monthly membership to $12/month for the annual price of $144. Sorry about that inconvenience.

I did find another website that can give you free 100% analysis for your manuscripts or short stories, say for a chapter. It's called ProWritingAid.com. They would give you suggestions on improving your writing in your summary report. Their memberships are a bit lower than Autocrit's for a year: $35 for a year, $55 for 2 years, $70 for 3 years, and $120 for a lifetime license. Check it out!

For those who do Nano, Camp Nano (spring, summer or both), Julno, there's Nanoedmo every March for free. You can sign up and register for a free account and have your own widget to keep track on your editing word counts. When I first heard about it, I knew other Nanoers prefer not to do it, since they prefer to edit at their own pace. But I've done it for a couple of years to get me started. It takes the same concept of Nano of writing 50 K or more words a month and applied it for logging in 50 hours or more of editing a month. Say if you wrote 2 hours a day for Nano, you would log in 2 hours a day for Nanoedmo. (And yes, you did get a certificate at the end, if you logged in 50 or more hours to print out.)

Editing and Revising Poll

Do you love or hate editing and revising?

See results

Partner up With a Beta Reader or Critique Group

After you've done the first pass revision on your own, you're going to need a fresh pair of eyes to help you out to give you honest feedback. There are many free ways to find someone to help you out. Ask a sibling or a friend, or even your parents to help you out. If you have a close relationship with your high school English teacher or college English/Creative Writing professor, you can ask them for help. (My mother was a teacher who helped me out for 3 long years, before she died last spring.)

There's many benefits of working with a beta reader, critique partner, an accountability partner, or joining a critique group. A beta reader will look after your work and give you comments on story flow, while a critique partner will give you honest feedback from POV to grammar errors. If you never heard of an accountability partner, I never did either, until I've learned about it a decade ago. An accountability partner will help you keep track of your editing by word count and support you. Sometimes your beta reader/critique partner can be the same partner, too. (I love my beta reader! She helped out finish editing my ms, after my mother died, and will help me with future projects.) You can also find a beta reader or critique partner online, if you check the website and a couple of blog. I know one of my egroups--RWCList--posts a critique partner list via email, twice a month. If you do social networking, you can ask for one via Twitter or Facebook.

A critique group is also great to give you more feedback from fellow group members. They're free and usually meet at your local library once a month. They might meet in the morning or at night. You do have to bring your short story or chapter excerpt in person, or if it's via email, just email it over to them. If there's not one near you, try the nearest town. If not, there's another option for you to get feedback and that's joining critique email lists and websites.

For the past decade or so, I've gotten tons of feedback from free various sources to get critique on my chapter excerpts. Feel free to check out Youwriteon.com or Forwardmotion.com. It's free to join as a member. As long as others help you, you have to critique others in return. I've been a member of the Internet Writing List for a decade ago. As long as you meet the monthly quota of two per month for a critique/submission for Fiction and Novels, you would be in good standing. Just sign up to join to get approved, and then send out a chapter excerpt. (Revised chapters excepts also count, too.) Everyone's there been real nice and friendly to me over the years. There's the Writing E-List for everything that's writing-related, which included editing, too. {The only caveat for Youwriteon.com, your work will be graded on a scale from one to five stars per editing criteria on a member's review. There's also a chart of where your work would land, when you get four reviews.)

You can also join online forums for free to get tons of feedback for the first pages or so. I know that Agentquery.com, Querytracker.com, Forwardmotion.com, and Youwriteon.com. You might find some help over here at Hub Pages, too!

Hire an Editor

If you have the money to have it looked after by a professional editor, that might be a good investment for the final phase of editing. An editor, line editor or copy editor would charge you by the word, by lines, by pages, or by chapters, from the first pages to the whole manuscript.

Other paid options to have it looked it and critiqued, is by sending it to a contest to get feedback on. It's a good way to get feedback, whether you won an award or prize, and use it as a published credit for your queries in the future. Other there's a submission fee to enter your story or novel in, but it's something to look into. Otherwise, if you're attending a writer's conference that has an editing session, you might consider that, too, if you want to pay the fee.

One last option is to join a local writing conference, like Sisters in Crime or Romance Writers of America. They do have local charters that meet each month to get feedback. You do have to pay for membership and attend two meetings before you can join as a member. Local charters have free online crit groups, if you can't attend or afford their meetings.

So now you have the tools of the trade, get out there to edit like a pro with a pen or the delete button. You can take as much time as you need to get it done. Don't worry about deadlines, until you've landed an agent and a pub deal! Good luck writers!

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome Mike. Its autocrit.com not autocrat. Give it a go .Try Grammarly and HemingwayApp too.

      • Mike Hardy profile image

        Mike Hardy 2 months ago from Caseville, Michigan

        Thanks for the autocrat.com tip. I will have to check it out. I struggle with the final “fit and finish” of my articles. I always go back and tweak.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 4 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Aww thanks Fatimah for your kind words and stopping by.

      • Fatima Bah profile image

        Fatima Memija Bahtic 4 months ago from Bosnia and Herzegovina

        You have a keen eye for writing skills. One of the best articles I've read recently. Thanks for these practical tips.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 13 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Audrey for your kind words and comments.

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 13 months ago from California

        Still an excellent article Kristen! Good luck with stuff in your world!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 15 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Deborah for stopping by and commenting. Go for it!

      • Deborah Demander profile image

        Deborah Demander 15 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

        Great tips. Thanks for writing these suggestions. I will definitely give them a try.

        Namaste

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Okay. I would change it to something else other than passive. Maybe words to avoid and cut.

      • Marisa Wright profile image

        Kate Swanson 16 months ago from Sydney

        Kristen, like I said, your list is fine. It's the WORD "passive" that is wrong, if you apply it to all the words like you have been doing. The word passive only applies to those particular examples in your link, so you need to stop using it to refer to the whole list.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        I see. But I've bookmarked similar writing websites that state the same words to cut in the same lists. But I guess I have to disagree with you here. Words ending in -ing should make active by making them end in -ed. Plus weak filter words like saw/heard/up/down aren't necessary Marisa. Check out this link: examples.yourdictionary.com/...active-and-passive-voice.html

      • Marisa Wright profile image

        Kate Swanson 16 months ago from Sydney

        The word "passive", in writing, refers specifically to the use of the passive voice in verbs. In that passage you've quoted, there's only one small section talking about that (Passive voice: Over-use of words like “was,” “were” and “that” indicate your writing MAY be too passive. Reconstruct in active voice). The rest are not passive and therefore changing them does not make them active. It may make your writing better, my point is that you're using the wrong word to explain why.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        I know what passive words are--words ending in -ly, was, to be verbs, started to, etc. Weak words are filter words like saw/felt/heard. This is what I've learned in conferences and from reading magazines like Writer's Digest, books like Elements of Style, etc. This is from a website from one of the contests hosts I've entered on her writing advice: So how do we do this? Here’s a checklist of things to consider cutting:

        → Adverbs, especially those with “ly” endings. Ask yourself if they’re necessary.
→ Adjectives. Often people use two or three when one or none is better.
→ Gerunds. Words that end in “ing.”
→ Passive voice: Over-use of words like “was,” “were” and “that” indicate your writing may be too passive. Reconstruct in active voice.
→ Passages that are overly descriptive.
→ Passages that describe characters’ thoughts and feelings in too much detail (i.e. long sections of narrative or interior monologue).
→ Passages that tell the reader what they already know.
→ Unnecessary backstory.

        Here’s a list of words to watch for. Carefully consider their necessity and effectiveness:

        about, actually, almost, almost, like, appears, approximately, basically, close to, even, eventually, exactly, finally, just, just then, kind of, nearly, practically, really, seems, simply, somehow, somewhat, sort of, suddenly, truly, utterly, were.

        (Make use of the “search and replace” function in Word to help with this process if there are specific words you tend to overuse.)

        Once you go through this exercise, you’ll find your manuscript remarkably cleaner. Try to have fun with it!

        And remember, no matter how many words you’re able to cut, your editor will always find more.

        See? Her list is the same as mine, only smaller, Marisa.

      • Marisa Wright profile image

        Kate Swanson 16 months ago from Sydney

        I'm not sure if I made the comment earlier, but I also recommend you Google "passive voice" to understand the difference between passive words and weak words. None of the words you listed is passive. It's a very, very common misconception which, thanks to the internet, is now widely repeated on writing advice sites.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        That's a good rule of thumb. I've read it somewhere too. Then I read you can remove was and that to make a stronger sentence. I'll amend it as a caveat.

      • Marisa Wright profile image

        Kate Swanson 16 months ago from Sydney

        I think that's the point with those words - people get too worried about them, you don't have to get rid of them all. For instance, I met one writer who spent hours getting rid of every single "was" in her story. Whereas I've been told by a couple of professional editors that a good rule of thumb is, no more than three on any single page. Which, when you multiply it out to a whole book, means quite a lot!

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 16 months ago

        Thank you.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Hmm. I thnk it would be best to try to avoid those passive words and make your writing count by being active. Use them sparingly in moderation. Read books in your genre and see how they do it. Watch out for weak filter words too.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 16 months ago

        Would it be a good approach be to write the story with the words you want then write the same story obeying the "Forbidden Words" rule?

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 16 months ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks for stopping by Marisa. Good points here. You can use those words sparingly like the -ly words or make them active in order for it to work. I can amend this article with your comments in mind.

      • Marisa Wright profile image

        Kate Swanson 16 months ago from Sydney

        Some good advice here, but I worry about the "forbidden words" list. They are words to look out for, yes, because they can be a signal that you MIGHT be able to write the sentence in a better way. But I've seen writers take the list to heart, and end up creating horrible convoluted sentences in a desperate attempt to avoid the words, and that's completely the wrong approach. They're just a yellow flag, not a red flag.

        The other thing I worry about is recommending people ask friends or family to crit. You're never going to get a really honest answer from those people, so I think it's better to save them up and use them as readers of the final version, especially if you're self-publishing. Then they can write you a review!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        I've heard it's very recommended but I haven't read it. You're welcome. I might add a new list of words like filters to remove this summer. Happy editing!

      • vespawoolf profile image

        vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

        I love Stephen King's "On Writing". It's a must for writers. I appreciate your list of passive words and the different sources for feedback and critiquing that you list. This is a timely article for me. Thank you!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        My pleasure.

      • grand old lady profile image

        Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

        These are wonderful tips on editing. Thank you so much for sharing your expertise:)

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Heidi for sharing my friend. I appreciate your support.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 2 years ago from Chicago Area

        Was glad this popped up again in my feed! Great tips. Sharing again on HP and Twitter!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome. I can't wait to meet you in 2 weeks at the conference. Did you get the email for query critiques recently?

      • suzettenaples profile image

        Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

        This is great information! Thanks for compiling it in a comprehensive hub. This is one I will refer to often.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Chris, thanks so bunch for stopping by. Good for you! I hope you get those shorts published. Fingers crossed.

      • cam8510 profile image

        Chris Mills 2 years ago from Missoula, Montana at least until August 2018

        Kristen, thanks for all the great information. I'm pulling some short stories together for publication and your article gives me more good ideas for getting the stories into shape.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Mary for stopping by. I'm glad you've learned about editing tips.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

        Kristen, this is really worthwhile. I have learned so much here about editing and especially appreciate the specifics of what to do.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Vespa! You're welcome. Thanks for bookmarking it for future use.

      • vespawoolf profile image

        vespawoolf 2 years ago from Peru, South America

        Your list of unnecessary words will be very useful when I edit my manuscript. I also plan to check out some of the sites you mention. I'm glad you mentioned Stephen King's "On Writing". He also edits a hard copy and offers more details about his process. This is a great resource and I've marked it for future reference. Thank you!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Moonlake for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate it. I hope it helps.

      • moonlake profile image

        moonlake 2 years ago from America

        You have lots of great tips on here. I will be back and forth to check your suggestion. I know once I leave here I will completely forget what you said.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome Robert. I'm so glad it's useful.

      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 2 years ago

        Thank you. There are a lot of good tips there. Like the list of words.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Audrey! I can so relate to your editing woes. Thanks my friend!

      • AudreyHowitt profile image

        Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

        Editing is the bane of my existence--This is a wonderful article on though!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thx Breathing for your kind words and comments.

      • breathing profile image

        Sajib 2 years ago from Bangladesh

        To write a great novel in one chance is something very much rare. Almost every novelist prepares a draft first, then revise it, make necessary editions and then the final copy is launched. But here the author described the whole process in a systematic manner and also how the writer can do it on own. Yeah, hiring a professional editor is always a good idea but that is also a bit costly! So if the writer can do the processing successfully on own, then it will save both time and money. Also as the work will be like a pro, the resulting copy will also be great.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Rabadi for the kind words. I will next month and next year.

      • Rabadi profile image

        2 years ago from New York

        Awesome tips! Keep these awesome and helpful hubs coming!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're very welcome, Poetryman. I've heard that saying many many times. I'm doing it right now in my ms.

      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 2 years ago

        I think some famous writer said you have to "murder your darlings". Some prose is too precious by half. Thanks for the tips!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You've very welcome. Feel free to print out a copy for future reference.

      • JasmenVilando profile image

        Jasmen Vilando 2 years ago from Yokohama

        Thank you for this Kristen. I am sure it will help me in trying to become a better writer. I was surprised to see so many words that I often use on the passive list. I will have to review that list more and maybe make a copy of it to keep next to my desk.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Sujaya!

      • sujaya venkatesh profile image

        sujaya venkatesh 2 years ago

        a true guide for writers Kris

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Sandy, you're very welcome. I'm glad it would help you and other hub writers out.

      • ReviewsfromSandy profile image

        Sandy Mertens 2 years ago from Wisconsin

        Nice tips here for self editing. Truly! (Got to watch those ly words. :))

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome. You can do it, Body. A lot of blood, sweat and tears with many revisions to get it sparkling clean and ready for print.

      • bodylevive profile image

        BODYLEVIVE 2 years ago from Alabama, USA

        I had no idea it took all that. My Pastor has a book out "We Walked Away"by Cheryl Comer. I'm going to talk to her about that. It's really been on my mind for a very long time and reading your hub has inspired to take it on, thanks.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Lorelei, you're very welcome. You can do it!

      • Lorelei Cohen profile image

        Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

        I just realized how many passive words I use in my writing. Yikes. Thank you for this very helpful advise. I am famous for having work littered with errors waiting for me to return to repair them.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're very welcome!

      • Apoorva Rao profile image

        Apoorva Rao 2 years ago

        Nice idea to write on! it will be very helpful to me. Lot of important stuff you brought to our notice there! thank you :D

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Sandy, nice to meet you. Good idea. I'm here to help you out in anyway.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        My pleasure Peg. Tell you neighbor good luck with the self-editing, if he can't hire a professional one like me. Thanks for the share and you're welcome anytime.

      • Sandyspider profile image

        Sandy Mertens 2 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

        I think when things die down in the fall, I plan on putting together some novels. This really comes in handy.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

        I have a neighbor who has written his first novel and is currently in the editing phase. Will definitely share this with him and also share here on HP. Thanks for giving us all of this information.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're very welcome Marlene. Good idea to print it out and read out loud. Hope it helps! Thanks for stopping by.

      • MarleneB profile image

        Marlene Bertrand 2 years ago from USA

        I rarely print anything out, but when I need to edit a story, I print it out. I like the idea of using the erasable pens. Thanks for all these truly great tips.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Hi Donna. Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my most popular hub ever. Read out loud--or have someone else do it--seems to be the rule of thumb, other than text to speak software programs.

      • cygnetbrown profile image

        Cygnet Brown 2 years ago from Springfield, Missouri

        I have always found that no matter how much I try to edit my work, it seems that I always see it as it should read rather than how it actually does. Fortunately, however, I have found several people who are willing to be my beta readers. These other sets of eyes see things that I do not.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome sandeep15r. It's one of my most populated hubs this spring with now almost 200 views. I hope it helps and check out powerful prose and revision hubs too.

      • sandeep15r profile image

        Sandeep Rathore 2 years ago from New Delhi

        Thanks, it is great hub indeed.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're welcome Robert. I hope you try AutoCrit and PWA out with the free trials. If you like it, go premium. I'm glad to share my edit suggestions and hope it works out well for you. Keep me posted.

      • Robert Beyer profile image

        Robert Beyer 2 years ago from Seattle, Washington

        Hey Kristen,

        I looked Autocrit and Ican't wait to try that site out to help me edit my stories. Thanks again for the editing suggestions.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Deborah for the vote and for the comments.

      • DeborahNeyens profile image

        Deborah Neyens 3 years ago from Iowa

        What a great resource for writers, Kristen. Voted up and useful!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Molly, you're very welcome.

      • Molly Layton profile image

        Molly Layton 3 years ago from Alberta

        Thank you for this extremely helpful hub, Kristen!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        My pleasure Benny. I hope it helps every hubber here and then some.

      • Benny01 profile image

        Ijeoma Peter 3 years ago from Lagos, Nigeria

        This is great, lots of helpful information, thanks for sharing.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Molly for coming by my hub and bookmarking it later. You're very welcome.

      • Molly Layton profile image

        Molly Layton 3 years ago from Alberta

        Thank you for this beautiful hub! It's helpful. I'm going to have to bookmark it for later.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Ezzly for you wonderful comment and your vote.

      • ezzly profile image

        ezzly 3 years ago

        Wonderful article for aspiring writers , very helpful ! Voted up and awesome

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Peg, you're the best. I'm glad to share my wealth of stored knowledge I've honed and learned over the years from various sources. Stay tuned for more hubs in the future on this topic.

      • PegCole17 profile image

        Peg Cole 3 years ago from Dallas, Texas

        Reading this one again to glean more tips. There's a lot of great info here.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Mark, my pleasure. Good idea to use it as a reference. Hope it helps.

      • Mark Tulin profile image

        Mark Tulin 3 years ago from Santa Barbara, California

        Great hub, Kristen. I love your list of words that we should stay away from. I'm going to use it as a reference. Thanks

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Lee for your comment, sharing and your vote. Hope it helps.

      • profile image

        Lee Cloak 3 years ago

        This is a fine piece of work, great tips and advice i will use often, thanks for sharing, voted up, Lee

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Catherine,my pleasure. I'm going to have some new self-editing tips coming up real soon. Good luck with your stories and thanks for the vote.

      • CatherineGiordano profile image

        Catherine Giordano 3 years ago from Orlando Florida

        I always need help with editing. I spent the day getting two short stories off for a contest. I hope my editing measured up because I think they are great stories. I should have seen this before I sent them off. Thanks for the tips. voted up and U.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks Rebecca for stopping by. I hope it's helpful and useful to weed out those pesty passive words.

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        Thanks for sharing this! I like these self-editing tips. Especially your word list.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        You're very welcome. Thanks for stopping by.

      • prettydarkhorse profile image

        prettydarkhorse 3 years ago from US

        Great tips mam.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks so much for bookmarking it Mary. We should all find what works and sticks with us for the editing process. Thanks for the vote!

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks MissOlive for pinning my hub on self-editing. Thanks for the vote too. I'll have more writing/ediitng tips coming up this spring.

      • missolive profile image

        Marisa Hammond Olivares 3 years ago from Texas

        Lots of great tips & techniques! I've pinned this to my, "Writing Tips & Techniques" board on Pinterest. Keep em' coming!

        Voted up, very useful

      • tillsontitan profile image

        Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

        I'm bookmarking this! Lots of good ideas and recommendations. I'm working on my novel and when it's finished I'll need all the help I can get.

        Voted up, useful, and interesting.

      • Kristen Howe profile image
        Author

        Kristen Howe 3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Thanks so much for sharing my hub and spreading the word. Good luck with your flash fiction. I'll be posting more writing/editing hubs this spring. Keep me posted.

      • Faith Reaper profile image

        Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

        Wow, Kristen,

        This is such a wonderful and useful tool to help us writers in learning to edit, edit and edit before publishing. I am working on a novel, but I am far from the editing stage. It is interesting to note all of the passive words to be mindful of when writing. I learned a lot from this hub.

        Right at this moment, I am attempting to write a flash fiction, but I think I am trying to make a short story into a flash fiction and not sure if it is meant to be a flash fiction due to the topic.

        Up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

        Blessings

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hobbylark.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hobbylark.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)