How to Critique & Edit Your Own Work

First off, understand that the first draft of what you are going to write is most definitely going to cause you to cringe and want to burn it on sight. I would not recommend this since editing it is fairly easy, and there’s no reason to give your neighbors a heart attack with squealing smoke alarms. You will have times when your writing flows as easily as a beautiful river. You will face times when you have to force the writing out. There will be filler words such as “that,” grammar issues, lack of descriptive imagery, characters so shallow you want to cry.

The first step is to just breathe. Once your first draft is completely finished, set it aside. Lock it away if you have to. Don’t look at it for at least a couple of weeks. Give yourself time to catch up on reading, watching movies, and schedule that spa day. You can work on another project, even if it’s the sequel to the first draft you just finished. Whatever you do, do not look at the first draft until two weeks has passed. That’s fourteen days for those that are stubborn. You know who you are.

The second step is to read your draft as though you were someone else. It should be fairly easy now that you’ve set it aside for the past two weeks. Be brutal. Reading from another perspective gives you the opportunity to find the plot holes more easily, the shallow characters who were never mentioned again, and more. Take your time reading it over.

The third step is the grammar. Make sure there are no run-on sentences (average long sentence length should not exceed 25 words), your homonyms(to/too/two) are correctly used, etc. Grammar is essential to making your story readable and enjoyable to readers.

The fourth step is checking the tense throughout the story. This means the past tense, present tense, future tense. If your wording is off, it will be difficult to read and will give readers different ideas than what you’re portraying.

The fifth step is to read the entire story out loud. This can be tiresome, but if you can’t get through the entire draft in a breeze, neither can your readers. If the sentences feel awkward to say, this means they are awkward to read. Definitely go through this step repeatedly until all of those errors are fixed. Normally it’s something that can be resolved by switching a couple of words around or deleting a word.

The sixth step is to read the entire draft with all of the steps above in mind. Fix any lingering issues you see. Make sure to use the spell checker in whatever program you are using to write in.

Hopefully by this time, you have found and edited everything. A word of warning: just when you think everything is perfect and you hit publish, you’ll find errors you overlooked. Don’t panic, don’t pull the book off the shelves in horror. Calmly document all of the errors, update the document, and upload the updated version. There may be a limitless amount of times you have to do this, so just accept your fate.

In conclusion, that is at least five times you need to read your first draft in order to edit it. If you just exclaimed negatively over that fact, this line of work is not for you. If you don’t want to take the time to read over your own work several times, why would anyone else want to take the time to read it?

50% Off New Year Sale

half off entire store

Dragon Soul Press is a traditional publisher that also provides professional services for self-published authors. All services are available for browsing on the website and there is a more in-depth description for each within the store. Below are listed the prices for the sale that takes place between January 1st to January 3rd. To receive the discount code, you will need to sign up for the newsletter by December 29th.

Full Edit starting at 5k words now $15
Proofread starting at 5k words now $10
Formatting under 25k now $25
Blurb Editing was $30 and now $15
Premade Covers were $75 and now $37.50 each
Custom Covers were $100 and now $50 each
Cover Teaser Graphics were $10 and now $5
Social Media Banners were $8 and now $4
Premade Logos were $40 and now $20 each
Custom Logos were $60 and now $30 each
Logo Full Branding was $100 and now $50
Personal Assistant was $5/hr and now $2.50/hr
Virtual Events were $50 and now $25
Facebook Page Treatment was $30 and now $15
Newsletter Appearance was $40 and now $20

It is not likely another sale like this will happen for a very long time so take advantage of it while it’s available!

If you have any questions, you can reach out to the DSP Facebook page or send an email directly to dspquestions@gmail.com.