Friday, January 9, 2015

I Don't Know How to Edit

I have been writing all my life - or at least what I can remember of it. I've even finished first drafts here and there. I've even finished second, third, fourth drafts, all of them being complete rewrites of the drafts before them.

But something I'm now realizing, as I dive back into my NaNoWriMo novel, is that I don't know how to edit. Sure, I know the basics. I know how to edit grammar, spelling, punctuation. I can fix inconsistencies.

In the past, my "edits" have been rewrites. I guess it might have been a way to avoid proper editing - sure, I'll edit this, once I rewrite it a dozen times.

My novel from November does not need to be rewritten. The entire plot does not need to be changed, because I actually like the plot. I put a lot of thought into the direction of the story and, for the most part, I feel that it went just the way it needed to.

The truth is, editing overwhelms me. It's this scary writing place I have never been to before. But I will be editing this novel.

Like I say, I know the basics. Perhaps I even do know how to edit, when it comes down to it. This just isn't something I'm experienced at. It's not something I've practiced.

If you have any tips, or a strategy of some sort you use when editing novels, please feel free to let me know in the comments. Or, if you also have no idea what you're doing, or you're not even a writer so you don't have to worry about it, tell me that too!


  1. I've edited my first book about four times now. I don't even know if it's "proper editing", but it works for me. The first time, I wrote down everything that happened in each chapter, and decided what I needed to add. Because it's NaNo, you just keep writing, and later on you add stuff you forgot, or add stuff that needs to be there because you came up with a different plot/ending. The next couple of editings were spelling, grammar, repetitions, inconsistencies, awkward sentences, things like that.

    1. I should try that, writing down what happens. I went through most of it for inconsistencies, or things that needed adding, but did not finish and then got angry with myself for not marking where I left off.

      I'm pretty sure my first edit will be for character development, since I left a few of them pretty flat. I have a document with characteristics I'm working on now, and hoping to go from there.

    2. It provides a really nice overview, and since I have horrible memory, it's hard for me to remember what happens when. Especially right after NaNo, when your writing is just all over the place, and I also didn't write from beginning to end. I wrote the beginning, then a random chapter here and there, and filled in the blanks. Not confusing at all. :P

      Yes! I need to work on character development, as well as adding descriptions here and there. I'm not very good at people & place descriptions.

    3. I usually write like that, but then for Nano I wrote straight through! I think it was because I knew I didn't have long until I got to write the other scenes, anyway.

      I'm the worst at descriptions. Definitely something I need to work on!