I’ve read countless books on editing during my years writing. I’ve enjoyed guides on grammar, structure, technique and style. Yet, I think the most beneficial steps a writer can take are much simpler and easier to understand. The idea that editing is a secondary concern is false. Editing is just as important to a manuscript as the manuscript. Every list from every editor or agent which lists the top complaints are virtually identical. Spelling, inconsistencies and issues such as a boring start or too much passive voice.
Few people appreciate what it requires to edit over 90K words. Sadly, many of these guides do not help. For those of us who aren’t particularly helped by in-depth exploration, here’s a tip on editing:
Edit one sentence at a time.
There, that’s it. Just look at one sentence, not a clump of them. Once you’ve inspected each sentence, look at the group as a paragraph. If the paragraph “flows,” it’s fine. If it’s grammatically correct and keeps the pace, don’t touch it any longer.
Thoughts on writing today: worry less with technicalities and focus as a reader would.