After I finish my book proposal (more on that tomorrow) I plan to get back to making my novel better. Some might think this is backwards, but there are things I’d like to clean up as I wait patiently (all to eagerly perhaps) for that form rejection letter.
When taking gravity, mathematics, and the concreteness of reality out of the way, there are about a billion ways to do just about anything. Here is my bumpy and unproven road towards a cleaner fourth draft.
Step 1: Create Small Goals
When I look back on my novel there is a lot of work to be done. But I plan to approach these corrections and tackle them like I remodeled me house, one room at a time. If I were to read through for grammar, characterization, plot, and other errors simultaneously, I would immediately become overwhelmed by the plethora of mistakes. So I plan to read my novel several times to sweep over each one. Also, I will to do a simple read through taking notes first, before I do any hacking and whacking to my manuscript.
Step 2: Create A Plan
Not only can the writer/editor become overwhelmed with the mistakes that have been made on an early draft of a novel, but it can be nerve racking knowing just where to begin. I plan to print of my manuscript three chapters at a time and each night before I go to bed, simply read through 5-10 pages. 400+ pages can be a lot of work, but if I were to get on a role and finish 10 pages a day for a week, there’s 70 pages right there. And that’s not to mention lunch breaks at work and the occasional morning where I might have the energy to get up and knock out 5-10 pages.
Step 3: Identify Areas of Improvement
As I do my casual read through, while scratching some notes, I plan to identify areas of improvement. For instance, if I have inaccurate descriptions, if I forget a character completely, if a whole scene needs to be rewritten, a new scene added, or, as William Faulkner say if he were standing over my shoulder, if that little darling part needs to be killed.
Again, as I said at the beginning this is not a sure-fire way to edit. I don’t think there is. I think there are formulas we can use that might help, but it is what fits the writer best. The most important thing for me is figure out a system that works, and to do it.
One word at a time.
3 thoughts on “How I Plan To Edit My Novel”
I feel your pain! I am on the final, final, final, final, final edit of my first book right now. I’m almost to the point of closing my eyes, and setting it free into the world. The work is totally worth it, of course! Good luck!
Thank you! I feel at some point the writer in us just needs to say enough is enough. I have had some friends give me valuable input and I have allowed a good distance of time between completion and revision so I can come back to my novel with fresh eyes. Good Luck to you as well.
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