Recently read this article by Joanna Penn because I actually Googled “How to edit your first novel”, and boy did I not know what I got myself into.
Please read the article if you are interested, but to summarize:
(1) Rewriting and redrafting. Repeat until satisfied.
This is where I am now, only 52 pages in (and the marker has been busy!), and I find myself enjoying the process so far. I printed all 466 pages of my manuscript and am reading it with a semi-critical eye. Looking more for inconsistencies in the story, and useless chaff that can be removed. Not that ANY of it was truly useless, for me, but much of it does not move the story along, it is just back story that my reader may not need to know, or at least not in the detail I gave.
Let me explain how I approached this book. As I explained in my previous post, my main character is a D&D character (Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, none of this newfangled 3, 3.5, 4, or 5 junk), from back in the olden times, and I have plenty of stories to share about him after he went out into the world. I didn’t really know him though, or at least not how he became the thief he is. Because of this, I set out to write a story about two other characters, which would set up book two, and be the start of the BIG ADVENTURE, and while I was at it, weave Rylan’s back story in between.
I did this because I didn’t think I had enough material to make an entire book about Rylan’s upbringing, but what I discovered was that I had a TON to say about him, and other characters around him came to life as I typed! I ended up dropping the other two characters entirely (hint hint, a future book!).
(2) Structural edit/ Editorial review
I am definitely going to need this. Having never written a long piece of fiction, I have of course never edited one, and although I have read a lot of books, I can’t identify what works and what doesn’t. This is one of the tasks I am hoping I can work with a publisher on and not have to go through the process of vetting an editor.
Depending on how the structural edit goes, this may take a while, and could consist of a complete rewrite. God, I hope not!
(4) Beta readers
This is where I have it made. I have a lot of people in my life wanting to do this, including a couple book clubs. I’ll be looking for more, and be reaching our to friends and family for this, including people that are fans of the genre, and ones that are not.
(5) Line edits
Again, I hope the publisher will help here, and I am no grammarian. One of the quotes I love and hate from the article is “The first time you get such a line edit, it hurts. You think you’re a writer and then someone changes practically every sentence. Ouch.”
I am preparing myself…
Yay, more rewrites!
(7) Proof-reading and (8) Publication
I am assuming this will be the publisher as I am not planning to self-publish, and they will need to proof, layout, and typeset. There will also be cover design decisions to be made!
Sit back and bask in the fact that I have a published novel. (Then get off my duff and work on the next one!)