Shallee’s recent Blogfest and describe my finishing stages of writing a novel.
How do I edit?
8. Chocolate. This is the stage where I eat the most chocolate because this is the stage where I begin to question everything – even my abilities as a writer.
9. The first pass. When I edit I first try to pay attention to the foundation of the story: the overall structure, where the chapters should end, the plausibility of the story, the hook in the beginning and satisfying end. This means a return to the whiteboard so I can see the big picture.
10. The second pass. I go on a search-and-destroy mission for any unwanted scenes. I look at pacing and the overall flow. I increase tension. I do the long awaited research needed for particular detailing in the story. For example, in my current WIP I will likely need to research the production process of certain types of cloth.
11. The third pass. I do line editing. This pass will often include many minor passes where I’m looking for particular details. For example, one pass will include a focussed search for those dreaded adverbs and passive sentences. If I look for too many different things at the same time, I’ll miss some or the task becomes too overwhelming. Basically, I tidy and polish.
12. The Break. This is a good time to take another break.
13. The fourth pass. I’m looking for anything I may have missed.
What do I do when I think my book is finished?
14. Critique partners. I will send out my manuscript (ms) to my critique partners. Sometimes they may get the ms early - after the first or second pass of editing.
15. I will edit again.
16. Beta readers. I will send out my manuscript to my beta readers and get their opinions. My beta readers include non-writers. Tip: because I write YA, I’ve found some teens to be my beta readers as well.
17. I will read through and edit again.
18. I will take another break. Since first impressions count so much, it’s worth taking yet another break from the ms before sending it out to the publishers/agents.
19. I will read through and edit again.
20. I will begin querying. There is no point querying until I am certain the novel is ready.
How do you approach the editing process?