It has been eight weeks since I finished the first draft of my manuscript and stepped away to bask in the glory of reaching another minor goal on my writing journey. The feeling of elation and achievement was fulfilling to say the least and a part of me wanted to leave it all there. Finish. Done. No need to pursue further. But another part of me knew of course I wouldn’t!
It actually took me about two weeks to get the characters out of my consciousness. To stop thinking about the ‘what ifs‘ and the ‘I should haves‘, and for the six weeks I have tried really hard not to let the story seep back into my mind.
Then last week I decided that I need to get back to it. I’m not sure if I have left it long enough alone but it has once again started to interrupt my thoughts. I hate the feeling of something being unfinished which I know is a feeling I have to get used to. When is a novel ever finished? I don’t think there is an author living or dead who ever felt they wrote the perfectly finished book.
So Friday night I pulled out my notepad and pen and opened up the file. I was full of nerves and the doubts began to creep out of the shadows. Little voices began heckling and laughing. I’ve never edited a book before, well not a fiction novel and the biggest question I keep facing is ‘Where do I start?’
I began trawling the internet, as you do, and came across so many different suggestions and techniques and it was then that I realised; there is no right or wrong way there is just the getting in there and doing it! So I did. I only managed to get through Chapter 1 but I have begun.
The way I plan to tackle the edit is to focus on the little things first such as spelling, grammar and then through to timeline and tense, then making sure the story flows, there are no unnecessary words or scenes and that the characters are fully developed and consistent. Sounds like a lot to go through but I have a little checklist in my mind as I read each word, each sentence and each paragraph. It’s working.
Once I’m done this edit I will again shelve it for a few weeks and then print it out, read it through and re-edit. Then, and only then will it be ready for someone else’s eyes, most likely a professional editor. From there after pulling it together I think I will be ready to look for an agent. OMG!
It’s exciting, nerve-wracking and stomach churning all at once and I’m not sure if I will love the editing process or not but it’s the next step in the process. And that makes me smile.
Any editing tips for me?
Or encouraging inspirational advice at least?