The Creative Writing Process: Editing Your Novel

Ah, editing your novel. This is the moment some people live for and other people dread. After you revise your novel, it’s time to write the next draft. Compile it all together again so it looks nice and pretty. Then you can tear it a part again!

Editing your novel isn’t an easy task and there’s no telling how many drafts you’ll need in order to edit the book to be as perfect as it can be.

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The different types of editing your novel.

If editing were easy, it wouldn’t take nearly as long to get a book out onto shelves. There are many different kinds of editing to do for your manuscript and can happen at different stages as well. Not to mention, at some point along the way, you’re going to want to hire a professional editor to look it over as well. Plus maybe beta readers and proofreading and… you get the picture.

Developmental Editing. This type of editing is the big one where you look at character development, the overall plot, dialogue, pacing, and more. I find this one takes the longest and is the hardest. There may be a lot of things you need to change. Sometimes you change something only to change it back or have to change something else as well. It can get messy, but will be worth it.

Line Editing. This is what it sounds like. You’re editing line by line reading each sentence individually. Is it needed? Does it aid the plot, character, or setting? If it doesn’t, maybe take it out.

Proofreading. This should always be done last. Once the story is good to go, no plot holes, no messy characters, proofreading should be done. This is looking for simple spelling and grammar mistakes, typos, making sure the tense stays true throughout, and more.

There’s a lot more that goes into editing and there are many different ways to go about it. It will take a while to get into a groove with it, but you’ll soon find a rhythm.

How do you tackle editing your novel? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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4 thoughts on “The Creative Writing Process: Editing Your Novel

  1. I edit pretty carefully as I go along. For the final edit, I print out the manuscript, get a new red pen and go to the library, select a comfortable chair near a window and begin to edit as meticulously as I can. I look for every misplaced quotation mark, every piece of dialogue that doesn’t ring true. This can take several visits to the library, but for some reason I have fresh eyes in a different venue from my office. When I’ve done all I can, I send it off to my publisher, Kensington, where my editor there takes over. She appreciates my careful work but often finds things I’ve missed. Then it goes to a copy editor who finds some more. Hey, if this was easy everybody would do it!

    • Oh, definitely! It’s not easy at all and it’s a long process that needs multiple people to aid it. You’ve got a great process. I should probably leave my office more often. Maybe a change of environment would help me, lol.

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