How to Edit a Draft (novel)

Writing a novel is HARD. That’s all there is to it. When you write the draft, it is exciting and fun (well, except for that mucky middle) and I always celebrate when I write those two magical words . . . the end.

After you let that manuscript rest for a bit (personally, I think you need to leave it for at least a few weeks). So, once you’re ready to edit, how do you actually do that?

I edit in a couple of rounds. Here’s my process:

ROUND ONE: Rough Edit. Go back to the beginning and read through your manuscript from start to finish, looking for echos, plot holes, passive voice, missing bits and pieces. This is what I consider the fleshing out of the novel I drafted very quickly (usually in 30 days or less), where I add layers and things like weather and setting. I also think about characters’ growth and plot arcs at this time. This is the version that I send to my critique group for feedback.

ROUND TWO: Read the full manuscript with a notebook beside you. Note any questions a reader would have as you go. Note any issues that you notice, again, looking for echos, plot holes, passive voice. Look for continuity issues. Make sure your timeline is correct. (Note: after I finish this round, I will send the manuscript to a handful of beta readers.)

ROUND THREE: Gather your notebook and your critique partners’ notes, along with any comments from your beta readers. Make all necessary revisions to your manuscript. (Note: after I finish this round, I send out the Advance Review Copies to reviewers.)

ROUND FOUR: Proofread and polish the entire manuscript, from start to finish. This is a word by word, line by line proof.

If you want to know in more detail how to edit a manuscript, make sure you sign up for my WriteScouts list below:

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Attending Ozark Romance Authors’ Conference (#ORACon2013)

ORACon2013 Attendees

ORACon2013 Attendees

I attended ORACon 2013 over the weekend and had a wonderful time. Besides the social aspect of seeing old friends and making new friends, and the educational aspect of learning new things, the most important thing for me about attending conferences is the intangible boost of energy I get from being around a group like Ozark Romance Authors. Next time I go to a conference, I hope I can take at least a couple of afternoons off to write immediately afterwards while the juices are flowing.

Here are a few quick takeaways from ORACon2013:

  • Book covers are important (thanks to Kim Killion and Jennifer Jakes for sharing the manchests of Hot Damn Designs and the Killion Group).
  • Editing can be learned – there is a process that I can use to approach editing (thanks to Tish Beaty who shared 50 Shades of Editing . . . yes, THE Tish Beaty connected to 50 Shades of Gray. Google her. Or be lazy and follow the link I provided back there. Go ahead. I’ll wait.).
  • Worldbuilding is created through layers – and the deeper layers are what makes a reader connect with the world (thanks to Shawntelle Madison and Jeannie Lin for sharing how they build their worlds).
  • Set a goal and make it reachable (thanks to Leigh Michaels for this gem – as she pointed out, as little as 250 words a day gives you a rough draft in less than a year).

Have you been to any conferences lately (writing or otherwise)? If yes, which one & what did you think? If not – what conference would you LIKE to go to?