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How to Edit a Book: 4 Tips

“Say as much as you can in as few words as possible.” -Sir Leslie Stephen

You’ve spent countless days pouring your heart out onto the page to give your characters a life and story of their own. Writing a novel from start to finish is an arduous process and you may feel drained after the book is complete. Once you’ve finished writing your story, editing it may seem overwhelming. Book editing is a lengthy process, but here are 4 tips for how to edit a book while making it as enjoyable as writing the novel itself.


Photo Courtesy of: Horia Varlan

How to Edit a Book: 4 Tips

  1. Try Editing on Paper

Although it may be a lot of pages to print, book editing is done faster on paper than on a computer. We read slower on screen than on a page and the computer also keeps us distracted from the goal at hand.

  1. Take Frequent Breaks

Taking breaks from book editing is important to keep your brain fresh and active. Avoiding breaks will make you more likely to miss flaws in your book, so aim for a 10 minute break every hour or so to get your mind refreshed and working on something else.

  1. Maintain Consistency

How long did it take you to write your novel? Chances are you may have forgotten or accidentally changed plot details throughout the process. Try and eliminate inconsistencies in character traits or scene descriptions by paying particular attention to details. Notice formatting and page breaks also, making sure they remain the same throughout.

  1. Follow the Narrative

The narrative arc is used to help writers form a clear plot in their writing. Readers respond to stories with a clear start, middle, plot climax and ending, so make sure all those elements are present in your story.

There are three well known stages of book editing. Stay tuned for tips on tackling each of the three stages.

Congratulations on finishing your book! Using these suggestions for how to edit a book will help make sure your story is well received by your readers. Happy editing and best of luck!


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