EDITING YOUR FIRST DRAFT: HOW TO PREPARE YOURSELF
Ahh, the editing process. A writer either loves it or despises it to the very pits of hell. I am one of those writers that wants to send editing to the devil, so I’m with all of you when you dread the process.
I found when editing my first novel, Unspoken Words, that it felt as though the whole editing process was thrown on me all at once, and I had a lot to focus on. It wasn’t until I finished my first draft for my second novel, Boy.Girl.You, that I actually took a breath and decided to research effective ways to edit a novel. I found numerous ideas and strategies, but I found preparing myself for the hurdle was the best thing I could have done.
Check out Editing Your First Draft: How to Prepare Yourself below.
TOO FAST OR SLOW?
The pacing of your novel is extremely important. I’ve read novels that read way too slow, and I lose interest eventually. Other novels pace themselves far too fast, and I struggle to keep up with the characters and the story. Feels like I’m running a marathon!
Go back over your story and check that you are on the right path, following your novel and plot outline. If you haven’t written one down or have it thrown across a number of pages, then you can check out these articles I wrote on How to Start Planning Your Novel Today and How to Write a Plot Outline.
CHECK THOSE NAMES
An awesome tip I have for you guys to make sure you check when editing your first draft is to check your names. Whilst they may sound cool in your planning process, they might sound silly or over the top in your actual story.
I found that when writing my fantasy novel, the names are going to be strange and foreign. That doesn’t mean, however, that they need to be so ridiculous that the reader can’t pronounce them.
After you’ve checked their names, it’s time to check their story arc. Are your characters heading in the right direction? Have you stayed true to your outlining process for these characters? What has changed since writing the story? What doesn’t fit the way you’d like it to?
These are all very important questions. If you have a character plot arc, then your story is driven by your characters. Therefore, you need to make sure you get them right, my friends. If you haven’t, then you should get to know them. Check out my free Epic Guide to Character Questionnaires to help you get started.
HOOK THE READERS AND REEL THEM IN
A narrative hook occurs at the start of a story and is meant to “hook” the reader so that he or she keeps turning pages. It’s that initial experience where your reader will think ‘this book is going to be great’ or ‘I don’t know how I feel about this’.
The best hooks are usually just the first sentence of the book. Yep, that’s right. The very first sentence, my friends, so make it a good one! Don’t worry if you don’t get the perfect opening sentence straight off the bat, it took me several sentences and frustrated starts to get mine!
LUCKY LAST: THE SECRET WEAPON!
Grammarly is a life saver for all sorts of writers, whether it be for a novel, essay, article, query, resume, you name it!
So, what is it exactly? Grammarly is the world’s leading automated proofreader. It checks for more than 400 types mistakes in the following areas:
- Contextual spelling
- Sentence structure
- Vocabulary enhancement
- Advanced issues
As I write this article to you right now, I am using Grammarly, and I have never looked back.
All finished. Let’s chat!
Congrats, fellow writers. The editing process is a daunting and dark place to venture, but you’ll soon see the light, you just have to prepare yourself for the journey ahead.
Let me know if my Editing Your First Draft: How to Prepare Yourself treated you well, and if you think there is anything missing that you would like to learn about.
Hit me up in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!