Five Stages of Editing your Book

I used to get pretty confused by the random terminology that publishers and writers use to describe the editing process. What’s the different between an edit and a copy-edit? Do I really need all of these stages? What on earth is everyone on about? Step 1: Writing the book This is Draft 1 to Draft “I lost count”, and then Edit Version 1 to infinity…and you’ve written the ending! It’s done! Now what? Step 2: Alpha read When you’re ready, you hand it over to someone (either a friend or an editor) to have a first read. This is usually the plot holes, “does this make sense?” and “is my story any good?” This can be a complete change of plot, or entire sections deleted; or this can be smaller details, where you’ve got most of it right already. The story might go back to draft versions at this point, or may go on to the next stage… Step 3: Beta read This is the character motivation, minor plot holes, small details; where the gun got left in the house yet is suddenly to hand; you forgot to mention that the hero has any skills at animal-taming yet is suddenly amazing at it; they’re in completely the wrong sector of space to have seen that star formation; and why on earth is he talking to her? He hates her! This is where the story and plot are ok, with no major holes, but there might be some smaller flaws. That said…I’ve had stories at the beta-read stage that have needed chunks added or even complete re-writes! Every reader brings something different, and you might find that even when a story is finished…it’s not. So these two stages can be interchangeable, but you’ll usually find things have a flow; your first… read more →