Editing your novel: What’s next?
When I finished the first draft of the current book I am writing, I thought ‘oh boy!’ – time to celebrate! But no…not really. This is rest time…time to let it sit and jell. But it is also time to realize how much more needs to be done. Editing. Yeah boy.
When I edit, I read over what I have written and consider if it is put clearly, and in the exact way I MEANT it to be. It’s very easy to overlook stupid writing when you are first typing it out. But that’s what first drafts are for, right?
At this time I try not to line edit too much. I mean, if I see an obvious error, such as a misspelled word, then yeah, fix the problem, but don’t get all crazy. Now is the time to consider that old adage, ‘say what you mean and mean what you say’.
There are a few areas I look at when giving the piece a big picture view:
I always set the mysteries in the same place, and so it is easy to keep those consistent. But at the same time, it is easy to change something from book to book that breaks the continuity that you are trying to KEEP. Always can make my settings better, those are my weakest writing traits.
Break down the scenes
I try to look at each page in terms of scenes. If it is a slow scene where not much is happening then I consider adding to it to make it better by shortening sentences-rearranging dialogue, etc. If it is a fast-paced scene where a lot of action is taking place, I make sure I have done the job of reading it aloud to see if it reads the way it should.
Pet phrases and words
I have a bad habit of overusing one word through a whole page. It gets annoying to read every sentence filled with stupid writing. I definitely check for that and ditch the dum-dums at this point.
Sometimes I have to remind a reader of things that have happened in previous books or put in a bit of fun history of the setting, etc. When I do this, it is a major thing to keep it entertaining and short and not overwhelm the action.
What are your tidbits and helpful tips for editing at this point in the writing journey?