It's getting to be that time of year again! November, and NaNoWriMo, are almost over. And with December, so often comes editing. You (not me, because I totally quit this year with vacation and a husband home from months of deployment) worked SO hard and you FINISHED 50+k words to have a brand new, shiny first draft!
But now you need to think about editing it. Where to start?!
Today I've got more tips that I've presented over on Wild Things Edting. I wanted to share the tips here as well because they're decent (well at least I think they are) for editing your manuscript after NaNoWriMo.
After you’ve let your completed manuscript sit for a while one of the next best things to do is ensure that you debrief. Don’t rush the editing process. Writing can be quick, and it will be if you win NaNo and write 50,000 words in November, or more. But editing is a slower process. Make sure you allow yourself ample time to edit. If you rush though edits they will not be as good as they can be.
I’ll say it again; DO NOT rush your editing. Allow yourself way more time then you took to write it. I tend to double or triple the time I spent writing to allow for editing. I need more time because I read through the work a lot more than once, as you will see shortly.
And going along with not rushing edits, it should be said to REFRAIN from querying early. Just don’t do it.Querying and submitting early closes doors that never needed to be closed. If you edit too quickly and get too excited to query you may be tempted to send out your baby too soon. In my opinion, this is a terrible idea. Make sure you’ve edited thoroughly before querying.
Below is the way I tend to edit in stages, often debriefing between each. I make sure to take the time so that my brain actually sees the problems that are still there after every set of edits. Like I said, I take a lot longer when editing because of how detailed I am when editing. It makes for a better work if you edit well.
Stages of editing that I typically use:
- Depending on how long you’ve spent away from your WIP you may want to starts with a general red though first. This can familiarize you with your story again. Additionally I tend to be an adder in my first read through, so this way I add descriptions and scenes that may have been glaringly missing from the first draft. Then I set up a game plan for the next few reads. (I don’t have a consistent order to these steps – I just do whatever makes the most sense for each specific manuscript.)
- I do a read all about plot. I look for plot arc and plot holes. Am I missing tension, are there things I totally missed which need to be fixed/included.
- I often do a read through another time just for genre. I look to see if my characters have voices that are appropriate to the genre/category. I look to see if I included enough believability in the romance, enough mystery in the thriller, etc. Is the action described well enough? Are the scenes set well? All of these things can fit into genre.
- I do a read just for dialogue. I look for stiff dialogue, believable wording, unnecessary words, and too many names included.
- I do a read to eliminate unnecessary words. I tend to be an over writer of “that” and I cut, cut, cut them away in this stage. I also tend to over use “ly” words in my first drafts, and those too have to go. Any repetitive phrases or words are change or removed in this stage.
- Once I feel satisfied with these stages I do another general read through to work on line edits and grammar. I fix the little things that have been missed along the way.
- Then I let my critique partners and beta readers have at my manuscript. They will help point out things I’ve missed even with my numerous corrections. Once I get feedback I go through my manuscript after every set of feedback. Generally I fix the mistakes pointed out by each, one reader at a time. So I do corrections after each CP and each beta reader. I try to fix everything they mentioned.
- If I need one more grammar read after major/minor fixes from my CPs then I do another there, after all of my feedback is collected and fixed.
- Sometimes I make my favorite CP read the whole thing again after my edits from the first round of sharing. She tends to do it with enough begging
- After getting the feedback from my most trusted reader(s) I fix anything pointed out to still linger in her second round of feedback.
- Finally, I do one last read for line edits/grammar. Then, and only after a long time of editing, when my readers can no longer see problems and I’ve been through the work enough to never want to look at it again (for a few weeks) then I finally feel confident in sending it out.