So you’ve written a novel. You’ve polished it until it shines, and are ready to submit to an agent or editor–at least you think you are. Then you take another glance and find you’ve overused a word or your sentence structure is too similar in places. No matter how many times you read over your work, there always seems room for improvement.
Sound familiar? Maybe, like me, you’re wondering, will I ever “arrive” as a writer? Will I ever have my novel so fine-tuned no one will find anything to correct?
Editing is a necessary, often grueling task that requires time and skill. Yet, is there such a thing as over-editing? How do you know when enough is enough? There seems to be no end to it. Following are five suggestions to make edits a little less taxing as you ready your manuscript for submission.
Read – One of the best ways to stay abreast with today’s fiction is to become an avid reader. Choose not only popular books, but ones in your genre that capture your interest. There’s nothing like ingesting a well-written book to help refine your skills.
Have a Teachable Spirit – Always be learning. Read books that skillfully teach the craft of writing. Attend writers’ conferences as able. The more knowledge you gain about writing, the easier it will be to put that wisdom into practice.
Get Connected – Get plugged into a writer’s group or with critique partners. The ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) offers a vast variety of ways to hone writing skills and meet like-minded people. Seek out knowledgeable, skilled authors and form relationships. Most are more than willing to share their insights and experiences.
Seek Quality Not Perfection – When it comes to edits, it’s important to remember no manuscript will ever reach perfection. You could approach dozens of noteworthy writers/editors and each would tell you something different. There comes a time when you just have to take that step forward and trust God to get you where you need to be.
Pray for Wisdom – Most importantly, pray for God’s guidance as you write and as you make decisions in your writing journey. If He has placed it on your heart to write, He’ll be faithful to take you down the path He wishes you to go. It’s our job to be obedient to His calling.
What helps you improve your writing skills? I’d love to hear your suggestions. May the Lord bless your journey!
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.”
Read how God works in the lives of Cynthia’s characters in her debut novel, UNDER THIS SAME SKY, available in both e-book and print at Amazon.com