Hi, I'm Lianna.
Hello, Writers! I've had absolutely no success with having the ability to write anything for you this past week. Things have been crazy. So not only am I super excited to have Sarah Fox here today but also super thankful! Everyone please do welcome this lovely lady! -Lianna Grace
Congratulations! You finished your first novel. After you finished dancing to “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” you faced the overwhelming question: “Now how do I revise this thing?” Don’t worry; I have got you covered.
This is the fun step! You can step away from your novel and relax. Don’t read it or even think about it for at least six weeks. It will be tempting to peek, but you must resist the urge. Go on vacation, work on another writing project, see a movie, or finally walk your dog. The time away will help you see your novel with fresh eyes when you come back to it.
You are probably wondering what a reverse outline is. It is when you read through your book and outline it as you read. Basically, it is outlining your book after you are done. This will help you see the structure of your book, which will help you with the next step…
Once you have your outline, it is time to look at every scene and analyze it. With each scene, ask yourself how it contributes to your story. Does it help with character development? Does it raise the stakes? Is it in the right place in the narrative? Make sure every scene has a purpose and is in the right place.
Now that you have your outlines and have thought about your scenes, it is time to get to work. Go through your novel and rearrange the scenes that are in the wrong place, cut scenes that are not necessary, and fill in any gaps with new scenes (or expanding upon old ones). Does the first chapter not add any value? It is gone. Need to swap chapters 10 and 12? Time to switch them in the manuscript. Want to add more romantic tension between the leads? Add a few chapters that do this.
Read your book over a few times to make sure your writing is at its best. This is your chance to rewrite wooden dialogue and cut down on unnecessary words. It is also your opportunity to catch grammar errors and typos. You want it to be in the best shape possible before you show it to someone. Which leads me to my next point…
You were hoping to skip this step, didn’t you? I am afraid it is non-negotiable. You need another set of eyes to catch flat characters or that typo on page 50. Why not send it to your best friend or significant other? I am going to be honest with you; they probably do not have time to read it. Even if they do, they don’t have the skills to really edit your novel or will not be honest with you if they think something needs to be fixed. You really owe it to your novel to get it looked over by a professional. You didn’t work this hard on it to give it rookie treatment, did you?
That’s it! Now you can go back to dancing to Justin Timberlake.
What is your favorite bit of the editing process? Probably getting it finished! Let us know in the comments!