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Proofreading, Editing, Critique

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Six Objectives of an Exceptional Self-editing Process

Completing your first draft is definitely a huge achievement, but that is where a more tedious task begins — the editing process. This process takes your story to another level that amazes readers and critics. You need to focus a significant amount of time editing your work. For your creative work to meet the critically acclaimed standard, your self-editing process needs to achieve these six objectives:

Fill-up the Plot Holes

Writing narrative fiction does not always start off with precision; the process allows a large room for mistakes to exist. So, you can always return to the beginning to revise, reconsider and restructure your story to fit the desired effect you seek it to accomplish. Re-reading the first draft often exposes logical inconsistencies and plot holes you need to address and fill with necessary details that enhance the story. You need to be conversant with the details of your narrative and ensure you communicate them effectively, when required, to your readers.

Make Character Arcs Consistent

Your readers are as engrossed with your plot as they are with your characters; they will be interested in the formal if the latter is riveting. The editing process is an opportunity to make your characters realistic, compelling, and consistent. One way to do this is to ensure that they follow consistent character arcs that support their adventure throughout the story. This is especially needed in a narrative narrated by a heroic first-person narrator; the consistency of this character's development will affect the story's narration. Having a detailed profile of each of your main characters will immensely help this objective.

Add New Elements

It is likely that, in writing your first draft, you omitted crucial aspects of your characters and plot. Or, as you re-read your story, you notice the need to refine most of your characters and add additional facets and elements to your plot point. The editing process allows you to do just that. This is when you add missing aspects of your character's features or the parts of the plot that are needed for future reference in the story.

Insert a Lot of Variety

Variety, they say, is the spice of life. I should add that it is also the spice of narrative fiction. A well-edited narrative contains a lot of variety in sentence structure, the narrative event, the dialogue and the descriptive language. This is an opportunity to engage your readers with an intriguing writing style, providing a beautiful display of diction. Here, the aim is to give a sense of newness as readers peruse your work.

Work on the Pacing

When you create a first draft promptly, it is usually the case that you had not portrayed the narrative action in a balanced way. More often than not, the pacing is not accurate. You may have filled main turning points with exposition, which should have come earlier in the story, or you create an ending that appears restricted and rushed. In the editing process, you should find methods to give your story the right pacing so that every part of it is equally compelling and nothing appears forced in.

Dot your I's and Cross Your T's

This part of the editing process should come last. This is where you check your grammar, spelling, syntax, and punctuation and ensure that these are all correct. It is standard practice that every publication goes through thorough proofreading, which you can do yourself, or hire the service of a proofreader — especially if your strength in writing does not include fishing out and correcting grammatical and spelling errors.

Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Frank Stephen