As I’ve mentioned, I’m hard at work on draft two of my YA novel, VANITY. I’ve learned a lot over the last three weeks, and am finally falling into an editing groove.
Below are the 7 down and dirty edit tips I tell myself each day:
1) Cut descriptions like the story-killers they are. No one cares what he’s wearing, unless it’s a silk thong and a red barrette.
2) Cut unnecessary words: That, had, etc.
3) Cut longer sentences into smaller ones. This is especially important in YA where an “easy, fast read” is important.
4) Cut clichés. They’re dumb.
5) Cut your –lys: carefully, nicely, beautifully, detrimentally…rejected-ly.
6) Read the manuscript as if you are someone else. Pick a critical a-hole you know. Pretend to be him/her and read it from their perspective. What bores them? Cut it. What could even they not complain about? Keep it.
7) Always ask yourself (ALWAYS): Am I telling the story? Or am I trying to write pretty sentences? Tell the story. Damn your pretty sentences. No one cares.
Am I harsh on myself? You betcha. Self-loathing is my specialty. Hope this helps in some small way.
Peace, and happy editing!