Editing Tips #1

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As I work on my second non-fiction project, I’m going to share snippets with you as I did last year with Plot Your Novel. This year I’m focusing on the editing process. I gave you a quick overview back in December, but this week I’m going to focus on my first pass. 

In the first pass, I really work on filling in details I missed in the first draft. This includes character descriptions, settings, and other research I skimped on to stay in the flow of writing. And I like to nail down the timeline of events in this stage. When I’m writing the first draft, I don’t really pay attention to the details of day and time, I just write. When I read through it, I pick up on the “Tuesday evening” and “that weekend” phrases that don’t flow correctly and I fix them.

First, I work on the characters. I know I try to build them up as much as possible when I’m plotting, but things change during the first draft. And I’ll add characters as a scene requires that I didn’t initially plan for. So, I go back through character worksheets and make them even stronger than before. 

Second, I find any spots with weak (or non-existent) research and fill in the missing details. 

Third, I work out the timeline. This might seem like something to do in the outlining process too, but even in the book I did a scene by scene outline, I ended up writing a morning and evening happen out of order. 

Last, I work on scene descriptions. I go through and make sure each setting has a few details to make it real and not just a figment of my imagination. 

After all this work, I do the first rewrite. And I end up adding a substantial amount of words when I do this. My second draft is much fuller, and a better told story. At this stage, I feel comfortable letting a few people read it. Close reader friends only, of course, because I know it still needs a lot of work. But I will let someone read this draft to get a first initial reaction to the story. 

I hope you found this information helpful. I’ll go over my second and third runs in the coming months. 


Thank you so much for reading!

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