LTUE 2018 Self Editing

Published: February 2018

Manuscript Doctor.
Susan Chang - Editor at Tor
Bane books.


Freelance editor to polish before sending to publishing house?
What are good questionst to ask yourself before you query.

Acquisition when to pitch and when to not pitch.

Art is never finished only abandoned.
Ideal or successful revision/draft process.

Non deal breakers.

Freelance or Publisher Editors

Polish as much as you can before you get it to the acquisition editor. (send audio version)

The Rules

Acquisitions editors don’t want to put in a ton of time. They have to be fiscially responsible.

Editors are people.

Heinlein rule #3 Revise only to editorial direction.

Get a freelancer to polish before you send it to the acquisition editor.

Start with developmental edits. Make sure that they get your story. Start with people in your genre and sub-genre. They will love the book as much as you do.

Don’t pay for a copy edit if you are planning on going with a traditional publisher.

Red flags

Don’t know CMS or what style manual they use.
Make sure they have a dictionary preference - Merriam Webster Collegiate.
Style sheet.
Don’t pay for a sample. They should give them for free. Or a 5 - 10 page sample of your work.

Self publishing must have a writers group or a editor

Acquisitions Editors

Pitch Sessions - Can only give them a big picture. Story matters more. Act as a professional in all your interactions. This is not the be all end all. Write, write, and write some more. Keep practicing the craft.

Know what people publish.

Connections are where you get in. Most acquisitions are agented. Pitchs are less productive.

Quality of the writing is most important. Dial it in for the audience. YA or Middlegrade.

Smartcut your way into things. Find an agent and you’ll be one up on a lot of people.

Finding an agent is marriage, publisher is more of serious dating.


Have someone else read it aloud to you. Hearing someone else say your words you can tell if it works or it doesn’t work. By now you are a prejudiced reader.

You will tell where they get tripped up. Or read it yourself out loud.

Backwards outlining. Outline what you’ve just written. this can be a surprise sometimes.

Have a little bit of separation from your manuscript. 6 weeks of not looking it.Whatever you have to do to come to it fresh.

PRINT IT OUT. In big font to slow you down.

Change the font between edits that will allow you to catch more things.

As you go along your process will change.

Look at professionally published books and go through with a highlighter. Read like a writer. You’ll produce cleaner drafts.


Self editing for fiction writers.
Revision ans self editing techniques.
Troubleshooting your novel.
Revising fiction - David Madden

Common Problems/Mistakes

1) Too many characters introduced all at once. Too many nouns.
2) Audience integration. No infodump. Integrate them into your world but ease them into it.
3) Clunky lines. Dialogue tags.

Tolkein - On Fairy Stories
Second belief. Once they are in that world you cannot break them out.

Know what words mean.

Show don’t tell. Dramatize the story.

Don’t use a lot of slang and teen speak. It will be dated.

First person - Present tense. (Don’t do this)

Deep POV
The use of sequel - You get to see the charachters thought process.

When it doesn’t fit in the story, genre, time period.

When do you know you are done

Vernor Vinge
A scene must be doing two of three
- Develop characters
- Advance Plot
- Necessary Background

Callie Stoker