Saturday, February 1, 2014

5 Editing Tips that will Save Your Story


Writing a novel is a huge task to undertake. You can't only focus on the novel, you have other things to worry about in your life, too. It's easy to become muddled and confused. When writing your story, maybe you accidentally change a character's name, or say one thing happened and then make something else happen. You'll find these sorts of mistakes in your first draft.

Trust me, I did. It's not easy to remember every little detail you put in. That's why you revise and edit multiple times.

But go back through your story and check to make sure everything lines up as they should. One little shift can make or break a reader's trust.


While writing the first draft of Embassy, I threw down every little thing that popped into my head. In the first draft, it's important you keep every idea. You don't know which ones you might use or trash.

In the second and third drafts, I found that there were some scenes which didn't quite fit into their places. I had to shift some scens whole days or weeks into the past (or future) of the story. Maybe a character feels more emotion here, or less there. Maybe a scene might just work better somewhere else.

And nothing unexpected...ever happened.
Change things up, experiment. I rewrote the first chapter of Embassy 47 times. I was constantly shifting things around to make them fit better and adding/deleting things to make it flow better. Same with the other chapters.


In the second draft of Embassy, several of my characters completely flipped personalities because their original forms JUST DIDN'T WORK. The story was bogged down by these oh-so-perfect people and very little was happening.

In draft two, one guy became a jerk, the MC became depressed and lonely, and another character went from being sweet and shy to stuck-up and clingy.

Everyone's favorite trio!
Characters will do that naturally. I'm not in control of what my characters do, they are. I can only express them.


How many of you were ever interested in a book that didn't teach you something? The people kind of just moved around, things just happened, and at the end, you didn't quite care who lived and who died.

Not very interesting, huh? So create a story with a lesson. Present a scenario that the reader can relate to. Change the original draft of your story and rework it in a way that readers will attach themselves to the characters.


I'm working on the fourth draft of Embassy. Here is my process: I read one chapter at a time in order. I edit that chapter, working it out until I see fit. Then I post in my writing group and people volunteer to critique for me. They come back to me with comments, I look at everything, revise and edit with those comments in mind, and send out the draft again. Usually they'll offer one or two more suggestions.

Then I moved on to the next chapter and repeated the process. Each chapter took 3-4 days.

Letting other people read your work gives you a feel for how the General Public will like it. That's what you want, right? You're here because eventually, you want to be published. If you want the public to read your book when you're finished, let a small portion of the public read what you've written now, because the feedback will usually be honest, and can save your writing from disaster.

What other editing tips do you have?

Comment below!

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