A copy edit is usually an in-depth view, line-by-line of the manuscript which checks grammar, word usage, repetitive words, and more. It is a step above proofreading which only looks for the most basic of errors such as missing quote marks or periods.

In the last two years I’ve developed a sequence of writing and editing that works for me.

  • Rough draft, written quickly to get ideas down
  • 2-3 more drafts to flush out story, reviewed by my partner for feedback
  • The revisions are checked through Grammarly and proofed throughout all of these stages
  • About 6 drafts in the story is given to Beta Readers
  • Around the same time I do a Hard Copy Edit (described here)
  • I also might do a read-aloud edit where husband records the story and I listen to it while reading it on my computer. This often finds more errors or a sentence structure that doesn’t flow. If you plan on doing an audio book I highly recommend this.
  • Final draft is sent to editor
  • Editor-checked manuscript received and changes made
  • Book is released

A Spell of Rowans is in the rough stage

My contemporary Magical Realism story is in the rough draft stage. I am allowing a few Beta Readers to see this very raw form as an experiment. I expect this novel to take about 60 days before it reaches the Beta Reading B group, those that see while I’m doing a hard line copy edit.

Price of the Rose enters final edits

At this time Price of a Rose is going through my the hard copy edit process. This is when I think the entire story is done, I’m happy with it and in my mind it doesn’t required any more edits.


After a week of putting the book aside, I send it to my tablet to read as an ebook to make those final changes before it is sent to an editor.

On my tablet, I examine EACH LINE and PAUSE. Did that line make sense? Was it necessary? Does it fit with the rest of the story? Is there a better word I could use to describe what I want to convey to the reader?

I highlight and note what I want to change or remove. I highlight in blue if I want a word removed, orange if I want to use a different word, and a note if I have a word or phrase I specifically want here.

It starts to look something like this:

At this stage I am RUTHLESS and it is why I can’t do this stage while I’m also writing the story. While I’m writing the meat of the story I need room to play, to play with characters, and to move scenes around without criticism.

But before the work goes to an editor which I pay, I want it CLEAN. Squeaky clean.

Writing is adding and subtracting words

Writing is at first a word-count game. When beginning a new story I need to get as many words as I can down. It is always easier to trim back rather than produce more. So the first step is to produce as much as I can to make a story.

On the first passes of editing, while it does get trimmed back, I continue to add information, conversations, and descriptions. In the end, the story ebbs and flows. It usually ends up with about the same word count as the original draft.

But with the hard copy edit, I slice and dice like a master chef.

Why I don’t print out to edit

I don’t print out my book and edit. Why? Because I worked as a journalist and my training has me writing and editing while on a computer. Printing out seems slow and tedious to me (but it’s okay if this is your method – it doesn’t work for me).

Beta Reading is now open for Price of a Rose (Beauty and Beast retelling

Price of a Rose is a novella at 30,000 words, 10,000 more than Dance of Hearts, about half the size as Never Date a Siren.

What Beta Readers do:

  • Read the story on the Beta Book App.
  • Provide any feedback you like.
  • Complete the book in 30 days.
  • Buy the book at 99 cents when it releases.
  • Post a review on Amazon on Feb. 10th which is launch date.

You can sign up to be considered here.

New Fairytale Phone Wallpapers

If you missed it I have two phone wallpapers that use the covers of Dance of Hearts and Price of a Rose. Find them right here.

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