• Emma Lombard Author

27 Book Editors Share Their Editing Top Tips and Naughty No-Nos

Updated: Aug 25


DISCLAIMER: Thanks to all these editors who generously shared their advice. Please use your own due diligence when screening editors to suit your own budget and end goal. Request a free sample edit to see if an editor fits. Also, have a conversation with them upfront about your expectations.

1. Stephanie Diaz

Top Tip:

Always remember that a strong story depends on character motivation and agency. Every single scene/chapter of your book should, in some way, answer or relate to these three questions:

  1. What do your characters want?

  2. Why do they want it?

  3. What is standing in their way?

Your characters' motivations will shift and change as they learn new information, and the choices they make will be impacted by the obstacles that cross their path. Bringing the focus back to these questions can help you solve a lot of problems when you’re editing your book. Are your characters' choices not making sense? Give them a stronger motivation! Is a chapter feeling too slow or boring? Throw another obstacle, internal or external, into the character’s path!

No-no:

When you’re editing your book, try not to take the easy way out. I get it—revising can be a slog, and sometimes you just want to hurry up and finish so you can send it back to your editor/agent/beta readers ASAP. But you will get much better results if you take your time and really dig into the process, trying to think of even more ways you can make your story beyond the notes you received from your editor/agent/beta readers. The best revisions happen when you see every round of editing as an opportunity to make every single element of the story better, in some small (or big) way. Don’t be afraid to scrap or rewrite a whole chapter you’re not 100% in love with!

2. Jaime Dill

Top Tip:

Know your why. For everything. We so often get bogged down in the how, especially when building our plot. But a snappy entrance or unexpected twist or climactic thrill won’t matter to anyone if you can’t give the reader a reason for it. Escapism is not a full deviation from plausibility. It is the reader’s instinct to seek relatability in characters and the events that happen to them. If your reader can’t find a sensible motivation and follow the thread of consequence, you’ll miss out on keeping their interest and winning their emotions.

No-no:

Do not give an isolated opinion the power to ruin you. While early reader feedback is valuable to your editing process, you must know when it’s appropriate to listen. If someone stands out from the majority because of their shockingly negative response or inability to enjoy your work, block it out. In an appropriately large pool of readers, the odds are not in the naysayer’s favor. Likely, they are not the right audience. Therefore, it is not worth the time and emotional exhaustion of letting it get to you and persuade you to change everything about your book.

3. Kimberly Hunt

Top Tip:

Do two easy self-editing steps to save money before hiring a professional editor to tackle the hard stuff. First, you'll be amazed at how many typos, missed words, and clunky sentences you find when you read your work aloud. Or, use tools to read your draft to you. While listening, if you find yourself thinking of other things, you may want to revise that section if it couldn't keep your attention! Second, create a list of pet words, filler words, filter words, etc. to find and replace or remove to reduce repetition. Find more tips like these at RevisionDivision.com.


No-no:

Do not skip the research needed when vetting editors. Ask for word of mouth referrals and check websites of professional organizations as well as websites of potential editors to make sure you're paying a professional. Check testimonials, references, and rates. You get what you pay for so consider carefully the quality of editing you're looking for when budgeting for editing costs. Lastly, the relationship between an author and editor is important so don't work with someone who is not a match for your style and preferred way to receive editorial feedback. Find more help choosing an editor at RevisionDivision.com.

4. Nicole Evans

Top Tip:

When looking for feedback on your stories, whether it's from alphas, betas or a professional editor, look for someone who isn't only willing to give you honest criticism, but someone who provides WHAT is wrong and WHY it needs to be addressed, but leaves the HOW to fix it up to you. It's your story, after all. Listen to advice, don't be afraid to heed trusted guidance, but remember, the heart of the story is yours and your solutions are there! It might just take another pair of eyes to help find them.

No-no:

When contacting an editor or any industry professional, please always remember that do so through professional channels, like their website or professional email. Sliding into DMs is not a good look.

5. Andrew Noakes

Top tip:

Paradoxically, the most effective strategy for editing your own manuscript is to leave it alone – in the beginning, at least. By the time you’ve finished your first draft, you will likely be so engrossed in what you’ve written that you won’t be able to see the wood for the trees. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been over your manuscript a dozen times or more, when you’re so close to a piece of writing, you will miss things – obvious things that you’ll kick yourself over when you finally realise. There could be simple grammatical errors, plot holes, characters doing things that don’t make sense, or any number of other errors.

So, give yourself some time when you first finish your manuscript. Spend a few weeks away from it, preferably focusing on something else. When you come back, the errors will be waiting for you, jumping out of the page with their little hands raised.

No-no:

Perfectionism is a common trait in writers. I’ve known some to keep going back over the same chapters, constantly tweaking things and making no progress on the rest of the book. Editing is vital, but it’s also possible to over-edit. The risk is that you’ll start cutting out things that actually work well and replacing them with things that don’t.

If you find that you’re bogged down in a chapter, constantly switching things around and unable to get it just right, then put it to one side and continue with the story. By the time you come back to it, your eyes will be fresher, and you may find the flaws you thought existed aren’t really there. Even if they are, the solutions should be a lot clearer to you.

6. Dario Ciriello

Top Tip:

My single best piece of advice for authors is to write for your reader, not other writers. By this, I mean to keep sight of what matters first and foremost: story. Prose, dialogue, all the technicalities should of course be acceptable at the least, but readers will forgive almost anything if an author keeps them turning the pages. This is simply done by creating a protagonist the reader cares about and placing big obstacles between the protagonist and their goal(s). Be interesting; take chances and be bold. Your reader’s time is valuable, and the competition is intense.

No-no:

One of the most common and easily avoided mistakes I encounter as a copyeditor is the repeated failure — or outright refusal — of the author to use contractions in dialogue. This will sink the best story. As an example, take the line, “I will not do it. I do not care whether you pull that trigger or not, I am not going to do that.” This is how evil overlords and arrogant nobles speak; the Sheriff of Nottingham, perhaps. You’re not writing a high school essay. Have your characters talk like real people. Read your dialogue aloud to be sure it passes muster.

7. Kyra Nelson

Top Tip:

Read widely in your genre and read like a writer. Reading like a writer means that instead of just enjoying a story, you’re actively paying attention to how the author is doing what they do. Like a character? Pay attention to why you like them and how the author presented them in their prose. Get bored? Try to track where the pacing slowed for you and why. Think about what the author could have done to make the section more engaging. You learn a ton from reading like a writer and find great ways to implement tricks from your favorite authors into your own writing.

No-no:

Don’t feel like you have to fix everything with your revision. Not this revision anyway. Authors tend to feel like revisions should make their manuscript perfect or near-perfect. A good revision doesn’t have to make your manuscript perfect; it just has to make it better. Most authors reach a point in revisions where they feel completely overwhelmed by the book. It’s usually because they’re focusing on trying to fix everything all at once. Instead, choose one or two things to focus on for this round of revision. Once you’ve done that, move on to the next couple things on your revisions list. You’re allowed to do as many revisions as you want, so don’t rush it.

8. Kristin Houlihan

Top Tip:

Find an editor who you click with. This can take time and effort, but I usually advise prospective clients to get several sample edits and pay attention to the editor's style and personality. You need to trust this person, and you need to know your editor respects you as the author and owner of the manuscript.

No-no:

This is a little harder, but really, it's thinking you can skip out on any of the steps. Even editors need editors! Don't try to fit your editing into a preconceived timeline—get an editor, listen to the editor's advice, and put in the time necessary to make your work the best it can be. Don't rush to publish!

9. Jess Amy Dixon

Top Tip:

My number one editing tip is to leave your work alone for AT LEAST two weeks after the first draft before you even think about editing. You cannot come to your piece with fresh eyes if you jump immediately from drafting to editing. Writing a first draft and editing it require completely different mindsets. You need that break to shift from one to the other. Oh, and once you've done a round or two of edits yourself, hire a professional! We're worth it, I promise.


No-no:

PADDING! I hate padding with a vengeance! This is where you cram in extra words, sentences, paragraphs or whole side-plots/side-points just to meet a word count goal. It's always incredibly obvious and it really weakens your piece, making it seem waffly and unfocused. If you're really struggling to meet a word-count goal, either add more relevant and valuable content, or just reconsider if this piece is right for that word count.

10. Ruth Owen

Top Tip:

Learn how to punctuate dialogue tags. There are two types: standard tags and action tags.


Standard tags are variations on “she said.”

Example: “That’s not a hippopotamus,” Gus explained.

Action tags are sentences that describe what the speaker is doing before, while, or after speaking.

They might look like this: Sharon gasped. “But it looks like a hippopotamus!”

or like this: “That’s because it’s cloaked.” He pushed a button on the contraption he was holding. “Look again.”

Note that you should use a comma between standard tags and the line of dialogue they connect to. Use periods between action tags and their corresponding dialogue.

Even short action tags are still action tags. Because Sharon cannot literally gasp the words “But it looks like a hippopotamus!” there’s a period after gasped. The same applies to words like laughed and sighed, though with breathed and sobbed, there’s a gray area.


No-no:

You learned it’s wrong to say, “Me and my friend are singing.” But did you know it’s equally wrong to say, “He met my friend and I”? or “They sent it to my wife and I”?

That’s because of something called case. If a pronoun is the subject of a sentence, it’s in nominative case: I, you, he, she, it, they, and we. You could insert any of them here:

  • _________ called him.

Or here:

  • The kids and _________ called him.

Now, the other pronoun in the sentence, him, is the object. In English, all pronouns that aren’t the subject are in accusative case: me, you, him, her, it, them, and us.

They all fit here:

  • She called _______.

And if there is more than one person getting called, you still use an accusative pronoun:

  • She called Henry and _____________.

In short, don’t use I unless you’re the subject.

11. Justine Manzano

Top Tip:

Search your document for words like feel or felt or feeling or something similar (saw, heard, smelled). When you find them, take a few steps back. Reread your page. Are you telling us what the character feels? Or are you letting us experience it? Dive into the character’s point of view and change your wording. What are they feeling? How do they experience that feeling? That character does not feel nervous. Her hands are shaking. Her knees are trembling. She’s not seeing the sunset. If you’re describing it from the point of view of the character, we know she’s seeing it. But what exactly is she seeing? The same can be used for any of the examples above. Remember that your reader wouldn’t be experiencing any of this unless they were looking through your character. Cut out anything that puts a space between your reader and POV character.

No-no:

The biggest editing no-no is editing as you go. When you’re writing your first draft, turn off your internal editor. That first draft is where you pour all your words and tell yourself the story. There is no need to second guess yourself in that first telling of the story. You’ll never get it out perfectly the first time. You’ll need to do many drafts. So, don’t slow yourself down by writing with the absolute best finished product in mind. Write. Get the story out on paper without changing anything. Write your emotions. Clean it up later.

12. Miranda Darrow

Top tips:

For Romance Writers:

  1. Give your romantic leads incompatible goals. Getting together needs to be both the worst thing imaginable and the best thing ever for both parties. Their internal conflicts are just as important as the external conflict (plot).

  2. Balance the attention and scenes between the romantic leads. Most romances use dual POV, but even if you have just one, make sure they’re both getting time on the page and time together.

  3. Make your love scenes pull double-duty. Every love scene should also reveal character, advance the plot, and/or change the relationship between the protagonists. They serve a storytelling purpose.

  4. Keep your pacing and the romance story arc swinging back and forth. Don’t let them fall in love too quickly. Make those readers wait until after love is clearly impossible (the dark moment) before they can truly be happy together.


No-nos:

For Romance Writers:

  1. It’s not 1980. Old tropes about falling in love with her captor and rape leading to love are completely passé. Read popular romances published in the past five years to get up to speed on consent and agency for both love interests.

  2. If you’re new to the genre, don’t think that writing romance is easy. Romance authors balance two internal character arcs, external conflict and a compelling plot, plus readers already know the ending, and it still needs to be original and touch on all the emotions. Easy as rocket science.

  3. Don’t break the golden rule for romance and kill off one of your romantic leads or leave the other. Romance genre novels need to end in Happy Ever After (HEA) or, at the very least (popular in Young Adult Romance), a Happy For Now (HFN) ending.

13. Maryann Miller

Top Tip:

I’m a firm believer in the benefits of going through a manuscript several times. The first rewrite is to deal with story issues, fixing plot problems and strengthening characters, but a second, or third, draft should focus on ways to improve our use of language. Sometimes we write in such a hurry that we overlook the fact that the word placement and usage may not be quite right.

"Sirens screamed, bouncing off the buildings and deafening me. "

Wait a minute. Sirens can’t bounce off buildings. "Sirens screamed, the wail bouncing off the buildings and deafening me."

“I smiled in spite of myself.” What exactly does that mean? Perhaps it would be better to write, “I smiled, despite my glum mood.”

Inappropriate sensory descriptions can also be a problem. “My own voice sounded dank…” Dank is a smell. It can’t be heard. “Soft-smelling hair.” Soft is a touch, not an odor.

No-no:

Don’t strain to find the most unique dialogue attributive. “Said” works well in most cases, often having a way of disappearing as a person reads. If you use unusual attributives, it can jar the reader. The most absurd one I saw in a story was “ejaculated.” The double entendre was not on purpose. Let the dialogue itself, or an action, show the intent. “I hate this.” Harry threw the letter across the room.

Don’t give a “grocery list” type of description of characters and places. When a character steps on stage, the reader doesn’t need to know everything the character is wearing, what color hair and eyes, etc. The momentum of story lags when detailed descriptions are inserted, and the same goes for giving back story of each character. It's never wise to push the "pause" button when writing a story.

14. Maria Tureaud

Top Tip:

When revising for content—building blocks, plot, arcs, pacing, themes, etc.—though it’s difficult, begin in Act Two. Act Two is every writer’s problem child, and often suffers from soggy middle syndrome. Generally, writers spend so much time ensuring Act One is ‘perfect’ that by the time they make it to Act Two they’re burned out, and tend to let big moves slide in order to swiftly move through the process. Unfortunately, that soggy middle results in agents rejecting for ‘plot falling apart’, also known as ‘not right for our list’ or ‘didn’t connect with the material the way I’d hoped’ form rejections. Spend as much time as you can in Act Two.

No-no:

I have many, but in the interest of protecting writers, my top no-no is hiring an ‘editor’ just because they charge below industry standard. I understand hiring a professional isn’t always affordable, but clients often seek me out after getting ripped off, so I can do the job they thought they’d hired the other person to do. Sometimes people don’t realize they’re getting a Critique Partner style critique until they hire a professional, so this practice continues. Most professional editors will work out payment plans with writers. The most common is half upfront, and half upon delivery of material. The other side is writers spending far too much on editorial services ($3000 on an 80,000 word manuscript (Developmental Edit). A good place to start researching is the Editorial Freelance Association. Is your potential editor a member? Some freelance colleagues are not EFA members, but their track records speak for themselves.

15. Judy L. Mohr

Top Tip:

The best editing trick any writer can have in their editing arsenal is reading aloud. You can stare at a sentence for hours on end and know that something is off, but you just can see it. The moment you read it aloud, the missing "the" becomes obvious.

Our eyes filter what our minds see, filling in the gaps and editing on the fly. However, there is something about vocalizing a line that forces our brains to work differently, picking up things easily overlooked when reading.

Repetitions of sounds. Awkward phrasings that the tongue stumbles over. Voice inflictions and accents that are misrepresented on the page. Missing punctuation.

The editing benefits aside, with the way audio books have taken the publishing industry by storm, it's important to understand how your writing sounds, as it can have a direct impact on your story's success.

No-no:

I have a saying: Don't rush the process. Yet, I see writers doing it all the time.

Sometimes, it's from a lack of understanding of the publication process. However, more often than not, it's because writers have deliberately chosen to skip vital steps, creating shoddy work that shows little care for the reader experience.

Whether you are aiming for traditional or self-publication roads, learn what steps are necessary and take them!

If you query that fiction manuscript before you've finished the manuscript, the agent or publisher will notice. If you forgo using critique partners or beta readers, your readers likely won't understand what you've written. And if you're self-publishing and have elected to skip using a copyeditor… Guess what… We can tell!

If you want to produce something that you can be proud of for years to come, DON'T RUSH THE PROCESS!

16. Michelle Rascon

Top Tip:

Your editor wants to help you express your vision. When you disagree with subjective changes your editor suggests, defend your reasoning with logic and passion. Your story belongs to you, and you need to know why you made each choice. A good editor will work with you toward a resolution.

No-no:

There is an editor for every budget. Do not expect to pay the same price for content editing as you would for correcting grammar. Know what you want from working with an editor before you contact them for copy editing when your desire is to focus on the story structure.

17. Megan Manzano

Top Tip:

Some actions in your writing imply motion. For example, "Sitting on the couch" implies you dropped down onto the couch. Therefore, when writing you can say, "She sat on the couch" versus "She sat down on the couch." This is a great way to cut excess words.

No-no:

Editing is not simply checking for grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc. It involves pulling your story apart. You need to see if your character motivations make sense, if your plot holds from beginning to end, if the event of the story progress in the correct order, and so much more. This will often take multiple rewrites and involve the efforts of beta readers and critique partners. As a writer, it’s not always easy to see the holes in your story when you created the world and characters.

18. Teresa Grabs

Top Tip:

Embrace description. Descriptions do not always equal info-dumping and, when interwoven with action, narration, and dialogue, they bring the characters and scenes to life.

No-no:

Stopping short of making characters real out of fear that readers will dislike or hate the character or book. No one is perfect all the time and perfect characters are shallow characters. People are the sum of their fears, passions, likes and dislikes, loves and hates, and characters should reflect real-life people.

19. Kate Foster

Top Tip:

Always with the emotion! One of the things I see missing from many unpublished manuscripts is emotional depth. Most human beings react to everything that's said or done with some kind of emotional response, and it's important for the characters in your book to do the same. Because when that emotion is shown, whether through thought, body language, dialogue, etc. it allows the reader to share the experience better with the character, to care and sympathise, and importantly understand why the character then makes the choices they do. That emotion from the character also builds more layers into their story, their conflict, their motivation, their past, and so on. It makes things personal, in turn creating more tension. So always look at ways to edit in how your character feels and responds to what's going on.

No-no:

Stop making every scene action-packed! It's important to let readers rest and I see many authors try to cram action into every single scene in the fear that if they don't they'll lose the interest of their readers. That's not going to happen and throws the story's pacing off. It's okay for a chapter to simply consist of a character sitting about, scrolling social media, staring at their bedroom ceiling. In fact, it's essential. Linked in closely with my top editing tip, we absolutely need to see your characters reflect on what's just happened, piece together clues, dig deep and look internally at themselves, question why they or another character is acting the way they are, and so on. Without these quieter scenes your book could lack rising tension, momentum, important revelations and turning points, and again that all important emotional connection between reader and character.

20. Amanda J. Spedding

Top Tip (Do Not Say Again):

Redundancy is often in stealth-mode, sneaking into manuscripts and parking itself all smug-like around your verbs. Here are some quick tips to remove it.

Let’s start with when a character sits, crouches and/or kneels. Seems innocuous, yes? It is until you add ‘down’. The action of sitting/crouching/kneeling denotes direction (downward momentum). Conversely, when a character stands/rises/straightens, this is upward momentum, so lose the ‘up’ attached to these actions. This momentum also applies to climbing – yes, some may use ‘climb down’, but why not descend?

Redundancy also attaches itself to nodding. Nodding is an action completed solely by the head. Lose ‘her/his/their’ after a nod. Same with shrugging – an action of the shoulders only. You can switch this up with the shrug of one shoulder, but generally a shrug is a shrug is a shrug.

(Bonus tip: remove ‘that’ where you can. Nine times out of ten, you don’t need it.)


No-no (The Eyes Have It):

One of the things editors can spot quite quickly is whether a story has had another set of eyes peruse it. I’m not just referring to a professional set of eyes, but someone other than the author themselves. A different set of eyes can spot point-of-view hops, verb-tense problems, punctuation issues, or plot points that either don’t make sense, meander wildly, or go nowhere.

While authors can (and should) edit their own work, they can only do so to a point. The value of an editor, beta reader, or trusted friend who provides honest feedback is invaluable. They will see things you can’t, spot plot holes, or offer suggestions that can improve your story. You’re too close to your work to see any issues your tale may have.

That extra set of eyes will help ensure you’re sending your very best work into the world. Who doesn’t want that?

21. Heidi Shoham

Top Tip:

Read out loud.

Yes, reading your work out loud can often be uncomfortable and awkward, but reading is a psychological process as well as a physiological one, and our brains don’t always “see” exactly what’s on the page when we’re reading silently.

When we read out loud, we add an extra process that helps us catch things our eye might skip over or miss. We can hear those repetitive words, that awkward phrasing or flow, the stilted dialogue. It’s especially helpful with dialogue! Authentic dialogue is full of contractions and varied structures. Your eye might not see anything wrong with your dialogue on the page, but the minute your ears hear it, they can catch when you’re too formal, too stilted.

If it’s too weird for you to read your own words out loud, try a text-to-speech program or even Word’s read-aloud function.

No-no:

I believe in critique partners, beta readers, editors (of course) and listening to feedback from professionals. However, I’ve seen some authors take a small piece of feedback and immediately run to make changes. Let the advice percolate a while. See if you get similar notes from other readers. If you make changes according to every piece of advice or criticism you get, you run the risk of diluting your story and your voice. Everyone is going to have an opinion about your work, so take time to weigh the opinions and feedback and decide what works best for your story—because it is yours.

22. Jenn Jarrett

Top Tip:

Aim for clarity, not perfection. Perfection changes and is subjective in writing. One missing comma won’t distract a reader too much, but being unclear with the story can make a reader stop reading it entirely. Don’t use this as an excuse to stop learning language standards and grammar rules. The standards and rules exist for that clarity and can help you get your story across to your readers, but stressing over one comma placement isn’t helping anyone. When I’m editing, if a rule interferes with clarity, I’ll bend and break it. What’s the point in writing if you can’t get your point across?


No-no:

Don't rush. And likewise, take breaks. By taking your time and giving your eyes and brain plenty of breaks, you’ll catch things you originally overlooked. Take the time to make a second or third pass of your work, and I guarantee you’ll find errors you missed the first time. Deadlines can be our best motivators and our worst enemies. Take your time to get it right.

23. Rachel Skelton

Top Tip:

My top editing tip is to find what works for you. Don’t be afraid to try different techniques. Some people find reading their work aloud helpful (and I do suggest at least reading your dialogue aloud; it will help you find the right rhythm). Some people change the font and font size of their text when editing (another method I recommend for picking out tricky typos). Some people swear by editing as they go, while others can’t imagine picking up that red pen until they’ve gotten everything on the page. I have my own opinions on what generally works best, but I suggest you experiment with the mentioned and other techniques until you find the best method for you.

No-no:

My biggest editing no-no is rushing through it, whether that means not taking enough time to edit or trying to fix everything at once. Only making one quick editing pass through your manuscript and calling it good is a recipe for disaster. You’ll miss a lot. Don’t try to fix that plot hole in chapter 6 AND make your antagonist’s motivation clearer AND fix all of the grammatical errors at the same time. Instead, focus on one thing (or a few related things) before moving on to the next. For example, I always save sentence- and word-level editing until I’ve ironed out all of the developmental concerns—that way, if the story requires major rewrites, I haven’t wasted any effort on smoothing the prose or fixing the grammar of a chunk of text that I’m going to delete.

24. Jeni Chappelle

Top Tip:

When you finish your first draft, it’s tempting to dive into moving words around and making sentences pretty. But first, work on developing the story. My favorite tool for this is a reverse outline because it lets you see your story from a bird’s eye view. Check plot, pacing, character development, worldbuilding, and other structural elements before you worry about the flow, word choices, or punctuation. Otherwise, you’ll end up spending time making changes that may need to come out of the manuscript entirely. Nail the structural changes first to save time and mental energy.

No-no:

Don’t dismiss feedback you disagree with unless you’ve asked questions to be clear about the why behind the feedback. Whether it’s a beta reader, CP, or editor, make sure you get clarity about what the reader saw in your story. Feedback doesn’t have to be a challenge to your vision; it’s a mirror that shows you what the reader sees and how that might be different than what you intend. When you understand the why behind it, you can come up with a fix (if needed) that gets to the root of that in a way that stays true to your story.

25. Tiffany Grimes

Top Tip:

You want to make sure everything is as clear as possible for your reader so they don't get bogged down and stop reading-- the objective is to make the read as smooth as possible. Too many details can make it hard to keep reading while too little information can be confusing. Just as abrupt POV shifts and perspective shifts can be frustrating for the reader. Read through your manuscript out loud to catch any moments where you find yourself tripping over words or where you find a jump in the scene that may cause confusion.

No-no:

When showing emotion, try to avoid relying on the basic fall backs, such as: shrugging, eye rolling, smiling, and eyebrow raising. The Emotion Thesaurus is my favorite book to recommend to help with this. Not only does this guide provide alternatives, it also provides levels of emotions, including when the emotions are repressed. If your character is only slightly irritated, having them break an object would be jarring. You'll want to provide the appropriate response and build up to the emotion.

26. Lizzie Thornton

Top Tip:

Always ask yourself “why?”. If there is no “why”, a scene, a character, and an exchange of dialogue becomes mute. The key to getting a really amazing book out of a good idea is to drive everything around the “why”. Our own “why” is what drives us in life; our writing must be driven by the “why” as well in order to be believable.

No-no:

Never devalue your work. We live in incredible times in the publishing industry where we have the power to control our own books instead of giving all our power up in order to get our books read. But with that power comes responsibility. If you want to create an amazing book, you need to give it the same amount of attention it would receive at a publishing house, if not more attention. Self-editing is very important, as are beta-readers and critique partners. Hire an editor, a proofreader, and someone to create your cover. If you want other people to take you seriously, you have to take yourself seriously. Remember your worth.

27. Ari Augustine

Top Tip:

Whether you're hiring an editor or tackling the next draft of a manuscript yourself, give it at least a month or so of rest before diving back in. This distance will give you much need perspective as well as allow you to bask in the accomplishment of having finished a manuscript, which is super important for motivation. Not to mention, you'll likely be kinder to yourself and less overwhelmed by necessary edits as you encounter them.

No-no:

Remember that your relationship with an editor is a professional one, even if it does feel like your heart is laying vulnerable on the table. If an editor makes a suggestion you don't understand or don't like, open the lines of communication. Ask for them to clarify, elaborate, or supply examples. Whatever you do, please don't lash out or storm Twitter. It's entirely up to you which bits of advice to take or leave, so it's unnecessarily damaging, especially for you.

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