How I’m Editing My Novel

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It’s a new year and I’m back. I went on a hiatus from social media for about two months and I haven’t updated this blog since last summer. So sorry about that.

One of my goals this year is to edit my current WIP so that it’s ready for pitching at conferences and sending out to agents. The problem is that a lot of writing videos are really vague about how editing really works. I decided that as a way of getting myself back to blogging, I will talk about my process in editing my WIP.

One thing I agree with other writers about is that if you want to start editing, you need to take a break first. Don’t take a look at your novel for a month at least. Work on other things in the meantime.

While I understand the importance of reading through your entire work, I don’t have enough ink in my printer and I can’t afford to print out my novel every time I need to edit. Instead, I change the entire WIP to a different font and make separate copies. Example: If you usually work on Scrivener, make a copy onto Google Docs and whatever word processing program you have on your computer (Microsoft Word or Mac Pages).

I’ll be honest when I tell you that I haven’t read through my entire work. It’s a long story and I know that there’s a lot to fix. So for the time being, I’m just tackling one chapter at a time. I started from the beginning and read through the first chapter of my novel, taking notes about what I need to fix. (Use a notes program like Notepad or Evernote or Mac/Apple Notes. Be sure to use bullet points if you can.) It also helps to share your chapter with a critique group or at the very least a fellow writer who can look at your WIP with fresh eyes and point out stuff you might have missed.

Once I’m done reading through the chapter, I turn those notes I made into a to-do list. My current goal is to edit one chapter every one to two weeks. How long I edit will depend on the chapter and how many changes need to be made. Instead of being vague about my tasks, I try to make my to do list as specific as possible.

Example: Instead of saying “Edit this chapter,” be specific about what needs to be edited. “Improve pacing,” “Expand on this character,” “Rewrite the action so that it flows better.” You get the idea.

I hope that this blog post will help anyone who’s also facing the huge task of editing a novel that’s at least 50K words long. I think the secret is just to break the goal down into manageable tasks. It’s all about taking things one chapter at a time, one scene at a time, one line at a time, one word at a time.

We can do this, writers!

 

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