Historical Fiction 101: A Comprehensive Guide to Writing Historical Fiction
Part 7: Revision and Final Draft
by Diane Vaughn
Now that you’ve written your story, it’s time to proofread and edit. Be aware that the built-in spell check in your word processor of choice is not infallible. In fact, it often does not catch things like homophone usage, the dreaded floating letter, commonly misused words, and overused words. It also doesn’t pay attention to writing styles and often flags sentences as fragments when they were not meant to be fragments. Never assume that you are the best editor because even though you think you have fixed all your editing mistakes, rest assured there are more that you probably didn’t catch. To help with this problem, find a beta reader and be sure it is someone who can give you constructive criticism and feedback. Try to avoid having your friends beta read because more often than not, friends are not forthcoming or objective in their reviews, and they may withhold criticism for the sake of sparing bruised feelings on your part. If you are publishing your story through a site, see if they offer a section for finding a beta reader much like fanfiction.net does (if it is a fan fiction). If this is not possible, look into some editing software such as Editor if you are able to purchase it or a free online alternative such as NovelStudio 2010.
Be sure to format your story and do not put it in a huge block of words. Improper formatting can turn readers off to your story because they will find it too frustrating to read. Wait at least 24 hours before you submit your story (if you are publishing online). As someone who often stays up writing until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning, I can tell you from personal experience that fatigue makes you write crazy things. I know how exciting it is to get your story out there for the world to read, but if your story is ‘hot off the press’ and still marred with errors, the world will not want to read it. You want your story to be perfect!
Next week will bring the conclusion of this series with Mrs. Vaughn's discussion regarding publishing a work of historical fiction. You won't want to miss it!
Diane Vaughn aspires to greatness, that is, to become a published author. Currently, she lives in Poplar Bluff, Missouri with her husband, Jesse, and their two fur balls, Andy and Bo.
Diane teaches English Language Arts at Poplar Bluff Senior High School, and in her free time, she enjoys working on her various writing endeavors which include writing poetry, fan fiction, and drafting her fan fiction-turned-original fiction. Her favorite genres of literature are the classics, historical fiction, and fantasy.
Visit her website Lexeme Sketches for more information and ways to connect with her.