Editing the Final Draft

I’ve twisted, moved, and tweaked each plot point and every hole is filled. The story has been read and re-read by myself and trusted critique partners. So now how do I edit this beast? Of course I try to do that as I write but it often gets lost in the creative process. I realize a publishing house will have their own editors who will gloss over the words, but I might have a tinge of perfectionism and want my best effort to shine.

There are professional editors you can hire to either look at plot and/or do a thorough line edit. For a 40,000 MG manuscript the prices I found ranged from $600-1800 to do a developmental edit and a partial line edit. Yes this can get expensive.

Because my manuscripts plot wise are in good shape, I needed more of a line edit. In the past I’ve used the free version of PROWRITING AID and found it helpful. You paste up to 3,000 words of text at a time and get 19 writing reports. It takes significant time to look at each report and then return to your manuscript to make the changes. A quicker $35 upgraded version is what I decided to try for a year.

Here you can make changes right online so the only time you go back to your original text is when you re-paste the polished chapter. They also have plug-ins for Word (currently Windows only), Google Docs, and WordPress so you can edit without going to ProWriting Aid’s website. If you create in any of these platforms that alone is worth the price. There’s also no word limit in the $35 version.

I have used ProWriting Aid on two manuscripts so far and it has taken about 7 hours for each. Thankfully I’m not doing that in one sitting. Instead I take one chapter at a time and spend 15-30 minutes in the editing process. After I paste in a chapter these are the choices to choose from:

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 9.18.38 AMTry some or try them all it’s up to the author. You simply click on a choice and a report appears to the left of your text with problem areas highlighted in your text. Here a sample Combo report which is a summary of everything you choose to include (they recommend not placing all 19 reports in this report and only the most useful):

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 12.20.16 PMI so far have opted to skip the Combo report and go through each of the menu choices individually. Seeing one report at a time and concentrating on that area gets my mind focused. I found 10-12 out of the 19  writing reports helpful for my MG stories. You have to be careful not to alter the voice you spent so much time developing in your MC so it’s good you are in control of making any of the suggested changes.

The final results: My stories are stronger, have snappier dialogue, and are in much better shape that when I started. Not bad for a small investment.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
This entry was posted in Editing, Resources, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Editing the Final Draft

  1. keats0810 says:

    Been looking for something like this. Throwing out tons of cash for someone else to catch my comma mistakes or word slips is outrageous. Wonderful post!

  2. Thanks for this post, Greg. I hadn’t heard of this software and will definitely give it a try.

  3. Sounds great, Greg. I might give this a go for my next book.

  4. ooh this is new to me, sounds good!

  5. Interesting site. Thanks for sharing your results. I guess I’m more traditional and work with a professional editor. But, PB’s are cheaper than MG novels.

  6. Andrea says:

    Good to know. Thanks for the info!

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