Don't Worry, Be Editing

With the first draft of the children’s book done, I can at last turn to editing my first novel, the one I started as part of NaNoWriMo 2014.

The problem, of course, is that I have no idea how to edit a novel.

A short story, sure. A blog post, definitely. Those are small things, though, easy to hold in my head and thus easy to find contradictions in, easy to re-read and catch typos, easy to control.

I read in The Kick-Ass Writer that you shouldn’t go into editing without a plan, and that you should make several passes: a pass for grammar, a pass for plot, a pass for descriptions.

So I made one plan, and threw it away, because it was too detailed and intimidating.

I made a second plan, and then threw it away, because it was too vague.

I made a third plan, and then decided I needed to stop being afraid of diving in and fixing things. So I re-read all the alpha-reader feedback I had, picked the most glaring flaw they all mentioned, and decided to start there.

Granted, it’s two-thirds of the way through the book. But it’s something that worried me when I wrote it, and if they also had issues with it, it’s something I should take care of.

Once that’s fixed, I’ll move onto the next biggest issue, and then the next, and the next. Along the way, I’ll tweak wording here and there, fix typos, etc, so that hopefully I’ll have caught them all before I do my “official” re-read for those kinds of mistakes.

Ron Toland @mindbat