What to Look for when Editing Your Book

Write Right!: A Desktop Digest of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style

“The Raven’s Fire: Book Two of The Dukarian Legacy” has been written but not yet edited. Prior to sending it to a professional editing service, I should edit it myself. When editing your book, there are several issues that need to be considered.

Discrepancies in the Story
It happens all the time. You write the story then decide to change something. But you forget that this something is mentioned in other parts of the story and you forgot to change that too. This is why editing your book before publishing is so important. And why you should have a professional editor review it too. If Alexander Dumas had a professional editor, d’Artagnan would not have become a musketeer twice!

Grammar Issues
Read your fantasy novel to yourself. Make sure it is worded properly and there are no run-on sentences. Consider using a book on grammar and punctuation to help you clarify any sentence structure questions you have.

Punctuation Issues
When do you use a colon or a semicolon? Does your sentence need a comma or multiple commas? Questions like these are not always easy to answer. Any time you have a question about grammar or punctuation, refer to a book like “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation“. Punctuation may seem like a minor thing, but having incorrect punctuation will really bother some of your readers.

Capitalization Issues
We all know that the first letter of the first word in a sentence is always capitalized. But this is not the only time a word is capitalized. Is the word king always capitalized? Is it capitalized if you are talking about a specific king without mentioning the king’s name? Or is it only capitalized when you are speaking directly to the king or naming the king, as in King George? This is one of the many capitalization questions I had when I first started writing my fantasy novel. Other capitalization questions I had included when and when not to capitalize places, titles, or directions (as in when I use the southern province as compared to Southern Ungal).

How well does your fantasy novel read? Does your story flow properly? These questions cannot always be answered easily with a book on grammar and punctuation. And it is not always something that a professional editor will comment on. Perhaps have others read your fantasy novel so that they can help you with readability problems that you didn’t catch.

Another thing I noticed in regards to readability is my tendency to repeat the same descriptive words over-and-over again. For example, when I first wrote my fantasy novel, I found that is used the word said a lot. People don’t just say. They use emotion when they speak and this emotion can be heard with words. Use words like bellowed, coaxed, stammered, stressed, protested, grumbled, etc. Spice up your fantasy novel by using different words that mean the same thing or have a bit more of a visual affect, like bounded or sprung instead of jumped. It helps to have a thesaurus on hand just for this purpose.

Editing your book prior to sending it to a professional will help to reduce the number of errors that a professional editor will find. Nothing could be more daunting than to get your manuscript back from the editor and find so many errors that you are overwhelmed. If you don’t know the proper grammar and punctuation rules beforehand, then you will feel like you have to write your fantasy novel all over again when you get it back from the editor.

Great grammar and punctuation books to use when editing your book include “The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation“, “Painless Grammar” from Barron’s Books, and “Write Right!: A Desktop Digest of Punctuation, Grammar, and Style“. A good thesaurus to use is “Roget’s Super Thesaurus” by Marc McCutcheon.

2 Responses to “What to Look for when Editing Your Book”

  1. Great post with excellent advice. Thank you for sharing

  2. […] for punctuation, grammar, and capitalization issues. More information on our preveious post, “What to Look for when Editing Your Book“. If you find an error which you think you may have made elsewhere, use the find tool if you […]

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