The Do’s and Don’ts of Editing a Novel

Guest bloggers visit my website twice a month on Tuesday and Thursday. If you would like to be a part of this, feel free to check out the Be a Guest Blogger page.

This week’s guest post is brought to you by Herminia, which she discusses editing your novel. Thanks, Herminia!

Are you ready to find out what you should and shouldn’t do during the editing process? Obviously, you don’t have to follow anything mentioned below. Consider them guidelines to make your life a little easier.

If you haven’t written your novel yet, what are you waiting for? Get your story down and then come back to this article.

In theory, editing doesn’t have to be that painful. So why can’t it be that way in practice?

Do save all versions.

Save everywhere. Save as often as possible. Every time you’re tempted to shut down without saving, just imagine losing all your work forever. You can use online cloud storage options like Google Drive or Dropbox. You could invest in a USB flash drive. You might even want to save your manuscript as a draft on WordPress. Besides can you think of one writer who regrets saving?

Don’t be lazy.

If you wrote a novel, you’ve already devoted a lot of time and energy into the project. After all that hard work, why let it go to waste? Slacking off now isn’t an option.

Do read out loud.

You want to catch when you used the wrong word or added an additional one, don’t you? Even better convince someone else to read your work out loud. Then pay them handsomely.

Don’t hold yourself back.

Assuming you aren’t lazy, it’d be a shame if fear stopped you from taking risks. Push your editing to the next level by challenging yourself each time you come back to the page.

Do stay organized.

Use a notebook to jot down what revisions you need to make or create index cards to reorganize the scenes in your story. Whatever works for you will work wonders for your story.

Don’t get defensive.

Especially if you’re defending yourself with excuses.

Do make deadlines.

And meet them. It’s easy to drag out the editing process when you don’t have people breathing down your neck, expecting a polished novel by a certain date. Discipline yourself to be your own boss so work actually gets done. Without a time frame as to when you’ll complete each revision, you may fall into the trap of never giving your novel the attention it deserves.

Don’t chase trends.

At best, the trend will end by the time you publish your novel. At worse, you’ll spend all your time writing something to please others and end up not pleasing anyone. Not even yourself.

Do set reasonable goals.

Setting unreasonable, almost impossible goals you can’t accomplish becomes discouraging over time. On the other hand, think of every time you meet a goal as an encouragement.

Don’t give up.

You didn’t give up on this blog post, did you? Then do the same for your writing, your editing, and everything else in your life.

Another good year full of great stories awaits you.

Have your own editing do’s and don’ts? Feel free to share them below.

Herminia Chow is a creative writer, a brief blogger, a recreational dancer, and an avid reader of all things.

If you would like to know more about Herminia, visit her on her social media:

Blog | Tumblr 

15 thoughts on “The Do’s and Don’ts of Editing a Novel

Let me know your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.