The Editing Process

Slowly but surely I’m switching off the writing brain cells and switching on the editing ones, which means that slowly but surely the editing process is becoming easier. I’ve had a few people ask about my editing process, so, if you’re interested, I’m going to run through it step-by-step. 

1. The complete read through

At this stage I’ve had at least a few months breathing space after finishing the first draft and I do a complete read through. Usually I do this on my Kindle but now that I’m on a Windows 8 computer I can’t work out how to do my Kindle conversions anymore (if you know how to do this please let me know), so for my latest novel, The Utopians, this was on my computer. While I read I make notes on anything that stands out to me – consistency, plot, anything that doesn’t make sense, repetition etc..

2. The sentence-by-sentence edit

This is the tough one (and the one I’m in the middle of now with The Utopians), where I read through every sentence at least 2-3 times to make sure it sounds right. I remove redundant words (‘that’ seems to be the most common one getting culled), I improve the cadence of my sentences, I also correct anything I noticed in the first read-through.

3. The character edit

For this one in the past I have rearranged the chapters of my novel based upon POV character, and will probably repeat this again with The Utopians. The character edit is all about getting the voice of each of my characters to be distinct, they each have particular phrases and words that they use. Despite the fact that my novel is 3rd person I want each character to be identifiable by the language and tone they use.

4. The out-loud read

In the past I have relied on doing this myself, but it doesn’t work all that well as I tend to read over my mistakes. This time round I’m planning on using my Kindle (ahh!!! see above) to read-it aloud to me, which allows me to do basic line editing.

After that it will be off to my delightful alpha readers (read – loving family members) who will tell me which bits don’t work so I can fix them up and get it ready for the beta-reading process.

Now onto my ROW80 goals:

Goal 2: once goal #1 is achieved switch to editing mode on the apocalyptic YA novel, The Utopians, aiming to edit ~5 pages half a chapter a day.

I hit a bit of a lull this week only managing to get through 3 chapters. I had mountains of marking for the other (read – paid) job. But the Autumn session at the University is almost over so in another week and a bit I am unemployed again until Spring session begins and will be concentrating on getting this novel finished. But some good news, I did break through the half-way point of the novel this week, the 50% plot-point line has been crossed and I am climbing to the 75% mark.

Goal 3: keep up with my aim to read 50 books this year.

Nought, zero, zilch. Busy. Week.

Do you have a regimented editing process like I do (the scientist in me fights her way to the surface every once in a while) or are you more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-editing-pants kind of editor? Do you know of any programs to convert to Kindle format that are compatible with Windows 8 (please, please, please)?

 As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller

How to make your Kindle work for you

For Christmas last year Santa brought me one of the best presents ever. A Kindle Touch! I love my Kindle. Like really, really love it. Don’t get me wrong I love books. I love the smell of books and the feeling of a well-read paperback in my hands. But I love the compact nature of the Kindle and I love that I can carry all my favourite books around with me wherever I go.

And there is something else I love about my Kindle. It saves me money and time and effort – although not in the way you might think.

I’m a writer. And as a writer I spend alot of time not only writing my books but also editing them (far more time that I would like to admit). Once upon a time I would complete the first draft of my novel and head to the printer to print all 400 pages which wasted ink and paper and time and obviously money. But not anymore.

Now all I need to do is convert my word file into a Kindle file, transfer the file onto my Kindle and voila there it is, ready for reading/editing/supplying to my beta-readers, whatever. And it doesn’t need to be a novel, you can convert anything you like and read it on your Kindle: Short stories; Essays; your PhD Thesis; Anything.

Okay, so your not particularly computer savvy and all that sounds too difficult? Believe me it’s not. Here is a step-by-step run down of how to convert a Word file into a Kindle formatted document. (Note that this provides only a very basic format for the Kindle, you cannot jump between chapters or view imbedded images – this is purely for reading your book without wasting paper or sitting at a computer screen).

Step 1: Downloading Mobipocket eBook Creator

In a few steps time you are going to need an eBook creator program. I recommend Mobipocket. The program can be found on this website. Downloading it is as simple as clicking DOWNLOAD and following the instructions. Oh yeah, and it’s free!

Step 2: Saving your Word file

In order to remove alot of the extraneous data and tags from your Word document you need to save as a HTML format (you don’t need to know why so let’s just go ahead and show you how to do it!). Click on FILE then SAVE AS. Type in an appropriate name for your file and (here is the important part) change the SAVE AS TYPE to WEBPAGE, FILTERED. Then click save.

Step 3: Creating a Kindle formatted fileMobipocket Import

Open Mobipocket Creator. Under IMPORT FROM EXISTING FILE click on HTML DOCUMENT. Browse to find the HTML file you saved in the previous step and click IMPORT. Once the file is open click on the BUILD icon at the top of the screen. Leave the settings and click BUILD. There will be warnings (most likely to inform you your book doesn’t have a cover specified – but you don’t need one) Ignore the warnings and click OK. This will open the folder that contains your newly converted file. (If for some reason this doesn’t open the file will be under My Documents/My Publications/The title of your HTML file.) Note that you should now have a folder containing 3 files. A HTML file, an OPF file and an SQL file.

Step 4: Transfering the file to your Kindle

Plug your Kindle into your computer (via USB). Copy the SQL FILE you created in step 3 above and paste the file into your DOCUMENTS folder on your Kindle. Eject your Kindle from your computer.

Congratulations. You now have your own book on your Kindle.

Do you have a Kindle? Do you love it as much as I love mine? Was this information useful to you? As always I love hearing from you.

Jody Moller