Editing and revising can be the most tasking, yet ore rewarding part of the writing process. Why? Well, reading a polished version of your work is incredibly satisfying. Your first draft is just a concotion of your ideas and sloppy writing, but an edited second draft adds immense clarity you your writing. You are reimmersed back into your stories, into your characters, and into the world.
It isn’t an easy task, and starting is probably the hardest part. Looking at that mass of 100,000 words that all need tweaking is daunting, but with some simple tips, the process can be more bareable.
Take a break from your WIP
I know what you are thinking: ABSOLOUTLY NOT! I have a timeline and I must finish my work in two months. I know this because that’s exactly what I thought, but once I actually stepped away from my work for 6 months, I relaized the value of that advice.
Giving yourself gives you a set of fresh eyes on your manuscript. You will be able to point out many nuance mistakes that are bogging down your writing. You will also be able to see plot holes and character divets better because you’re not as familiar with it as you were before your break.
You can work on writing, of course. I’d actually advise it so that you’ll grow in that period and become a better writer. You’ll also have multiple projects going just in cause one does not work.
Change the font of your manuscript
It’ll suprise you how many grammatical or syntactical mistakes you will catch when the font is different from what you are used to. It changes how things look )obviously), so mistakes will stand out in an uncomfrotable way. Why does this work? Because your eyes have been accostmed to that font, and therefor accustomed to the mistakes within in. If you shake things up, you’ll have to refocus your perspective.
Read over your manuscript before editing
Reading over it once is an annoying but essential step towards improving your writing. There are a couple things you should keep in mind while reading:
- Look at your character: are they portrayed you want them to be portrayed? Are there too many characters that aren’t neccessary or well fleshed out? How round are your characters? Are there details that aren’t neccessary.
- Plot: What plot points are neccessary? Which ones aren’t? Are there filler chapters or scenes that slow the pace of your novel. Are there any plot holes or confusing aspects?
- Worldbuilding: Is your world built sufficiently for the purpose of your novel? Is there any point where a concept is confusing or underexplained? Have you spent a good amount of time fleshing out your world?
- Specific Scenes: Analyze the emotion in your scenes. Did you achieve the intention that you wanted to? Did you feel the way you wanted that scene to make you feel? Is every character in that scene neccesary. Are scenes plot driven, character driven, or neither?
Start big, then go small
You could copyedit your novel for ages. It’ll never be perfect enough for you, and you won’t achieve much progress. What you need to do first is read the whole thing through, take notes about plot holes, character problems, and any major issues you see with the novel. Then, you start from zero with a mess first draft, and either incorperate those massive changes or rewrite. Structural changes are the hardest, so it’s nice to get more than one set of eyes on your work.
If you’re a young writer, getting help can be difficult. Teachers are busy, and so are friends. It seems like no one is on your side. That’s why there are many great resources for young writers out there. For example, The Young Writers Initiative is an organization I founded that provides low cost services to young writers, and possibly free depending on volunteer work. Help is there if you look well.
I’ll go into more specifics in other blog posts, so stay tuned!