Editing a Novel

I’m in the ‘final’stages of revision on a novel that I hope to share with some beta readers in the coming month.

There’s a few things that I’ve found with writing the novel and then going through multiple revisions.

  1. it’s easier to write the book than it is to suffer through the revision process.
  2. When you’re revising something, it’s the easiest  thing in the world to delay and delay and delay the thing because it sucks to revise.
  3. I think I’d be better off with some kind of ‘Visual” representation of the manuscript so I can keep better track of just how much I’ve done and what needs to be done.

A few weeks ago, I screwed around with a new method of outlining a novel for me using index cards and I thought that the method worked so well for that, that as soon as I get to the end of this ‘sweep’ of edits, I’m gonna do something in that vein for the novel I am wrapping up.

Hopefully these ‘final’ edits done with the help of index carding. along with some interjection of beta reader feedback will close up the project nicely.

This is what I’ll do:

  • Print out file from PDF for the Novel with Createspace to try out their service (I’m unhappy with Lulu and wanna check out Amazon’s Createspace anyway for pricing and all that jazz)
  • Get a stack of Index cards. Number each card.
  • My novel is laid out in Numbered chapters, anywhere from 1000 words to approx. 3000 words. Each chapter gets an Index card. Right now that’s 42 cards.
  • As I go through the book, I will match the index cards with the corresponding chapters and take notes as I read.
  • I’ll also be highlighting the corrected text, looking for mistakes that I missed while correcting from a computer screen.
  • When I am done re-reading and taking notes, I will begin the final edits, and final re-writes.
  • As I finish the chapter I will mark the card with a red sharpie in the upper right hand corner of the card.
  • Once I get all the way through the cards and each has a red mark in the upper corner, I’ll be ready to begin submitting my novel for considerations with small publishing houses and potential literary agents.

Some notes on my process before this point.

I wrote the novel very quickly over the course of 5 weeks without an outline. When the first draft was done, I went through it after it sat for two months and I did a re-write on the original draft. I thought that I was in pretty good shape.

As luck would have it, I got a message out of the blue from someone who’d been reading my writing online and they asked me if I was interested in forming a critique partnership. 5000 words a week sent to each other. I jumped at the idea … I began reading and editing their novel, they read and edited mine.

My critique partner pointed out all kinds of glaring holes in my writing and the structure of the novel and I pointed out the same in theirs.

I feel like this was vital.

Man, if you can find yourself a writing partner for your project (after it is complete) I highly recommend it. What a difference it made. All the books that are on the shelves of libraries have been professionally edited, For the hobbyist who is toying with the novel and considering self publishing, remember, the thing that sets your story apart from the professionals, is years and years of practice and editing.

so make sure you:
EDIT and by ‘you’ I really mean … find somebody else to edit your book for you. However you can work that out.

There are mant sites to track down an editor. I’d try the forum boards of Goodreads or asking around in facebook Groups. If that fails you, you can find a paid editor at  Elance.com


One Reply to “Editing a Novel”

  1. It’s actually a great and useful piece of info. I am happy that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

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