Tackling Editing

I’m here to ask for help.

Editing. I need help with editing.

Here’s the thing. I’ve never edited a full-length novel before. I’ve edited papers for school, poems, short works, etc…but never something as daunting as a novel that’s more than 100K words. I have no idea what to do.

When I was working on the first draft of Music’s Curse, I was so excited to finish it so I could move onto editing. I thought it sounded like fun, despite the fact that the majority of writers I follow were constantly complaining about it.

But now I understand. I haven’t even started editing yet, and I’m already overwhelmed. Every time I open up the document that contains my 123K words novel, I don’t even know where to being.

Since I’ve worked on this novel over the past three or four years, my writing quality has changed, my plot has changed, even my characters have changed. It’s a big, gigantic mess.

So I’m asking for help. What are some tips you can give me for editing? For now, I would like to do just enough editing to make the story comprehensible so I could pass it on to some friends to read. I’m not so much worried about details like cutting out superfluous words, or making sure all the grammar is correct, or including super thorough descriptions. I want to do a more general edit before focusing on the details.

I especially need to do some world-building with my editing. When I first started MC, I just kind of jumped into the story without figuring out any background information. So any help with how you go about world-building would be amazing as well.

That’s all I’ve got for today. Basically, this is just me begging for any tips and tricks with editing because I am so hopelessly lost and confused.

Until next time,

Erin

 

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8 thoughts on “Tackling Editing

  1. Editing definitely seems like a really tricky part of the writing process. I think you shouldn’t get discouraged! This is your first draft. Anything that you don’t like or isn’t well done you can fix! I actually just read a great post about outlining your entire plot on index cards to help keep track of the story and see where plot, character arc, and pacing issues exist (read the whole post here: https://youwritefiction.wordpress.com/2016/03/07/9-reasons-to-index-card-your-manuscript/) About world building, why don’t you try free writing everything you can think of about the world in one gushing mess, then seeing where you can incorporate information and what areas need to be developed for your story to make sense?
    I hope this is helpful; I’ve never edited a draft but it seems like a process that a plan would make much less underwhelming.
    Congratulations on writing a novel!

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    1. Thanks for the advice! That post looks super helpful – I’ll definitely be trying that. And I think a free write would really help me with world building too!

      Editing just seems so terrifying – I’m sure once I dive into it and figure out my groove things will go better. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What I did with editing is I first read through the whole and pretended I was a totally objective reader. I took notes—things I liked, things I didn’t like, questions that I thought of that I couldn’t remember the answer for or that I realized I never actually answered, and such. Once I was done with that, I decided what parts of my “critique” were the biggest issues and fixed those first.

    One of the things is, remember—don’t fix EVERYTHING all at once. If you try to do that, you’ll overwhelm yourself and never get anything done. Prioritize the editing and get done what needs to be finished first. (Typically, that includes major changes in the plot/setting/characters (like if, say, you decided halfway through the setting was, I don’t know, a hotel instead of a park, or you decided to combine two characters, or stuff like that), plot holes, major inconstancies (keyword being major) and stuff like that. Character arcs, tension, and the smaller inconsistencies can wait for another draft. (And, of course, grammar can wait longer, as well, unless it’s something that really bugs you. But mostly ignore grammar for now.)

    As for world-building… My advice would be to start smaller with that, too. Pick a few aspects of the world (say, maybe three) that are really important to the story and work with those mostly. (As an example, for my story, I’d say the religion, the government, and tradition were the three I’d work with most. Actually, am working with the most, teehee.) The other parts of your world are important, too, but if you try to world-build everything, you’ll either end up with world building disease or you’ll hate your world before you’re even close to finishing. So start with the three most important. Let those three bleed into everything else.

    (Also, if you ever decide you do want a beta, I volunteer as tribute.)

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    1. Thanks for all the advice! I’ll definitely keep it in mind when I start editing. I’m anxious to start but I’m so busy with school…I might need to wait until this semester is over…We’ll see!
      Oh, yes! You can definitely be a beta reader if/when I need one! Might be a while though. 😀
      Also, the new blog looks great! It’s nice to start fresh, ya know?

      Like

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