If you read my previous blog post on my writing journey, you would know that in April I started working on a new novel which I finished the first draft of during June. You can check out that blog post here -> https://alwaysandforeverreading.wordpress.com/2017/07/09/i-started-writing-a-new-novel/
Today, I’m going to be discussing the editing process I used to edit the first draft and the ones after. I’m currently on draft 4, and I still have a loooooooong way to go.
So mid June was when I finished writing the first draft and I planned on putting it down until July where I would use Camp Nanowrimo to motivate me to get some editing done. However, I was just so excited to continue working on it and making it better, I only put it down for the weekend before digging right back into it.
I’ve written two drafts for novels before, but I only started editing one of them, so I’ve never actually got this far into the “writing a novel” stage before. The way that I went about it was a bit dysfunctional and I kind of just played it by ear.
Step by step of what I (somewhat) began editing the first draft from mid to end June
- Used the printing balance from last semester at uni that I never used to print out all 350 (175 double sided) pages
- I read through the manuscript without making any marks. This was very painful
- I read through it again, this time marking small things that I could pick up on, i.e. description, dialogue, things to research, plot holes, lines to change, lines to remove, etc.
- During my third read through, I used a different highlighter and put ticks next to the sections/paragraphs that I loved and didn’t want to change at this point in time. Mind you, this was a very small percentage of the total manuscript
- Then, the scary bit. Opening the document on my computer and actually making the changes. I actually thought that this was going to take the longest time, but I finished it in three days. The first two days were slow progress, but the third day was when inspiration struck and I stayed up until midnight just editing. That’s never happened before!
Once I finished that, I counted it as my first draft. I finished fixing the small errors that I could pick up on and thought of some major changes that I wanted to make later.
As I wrote my third draft, I changed some major plot “problems” I had or things that I wasn’t too sure about. Because my novel is told from the perspective of four characters who all have their own individual stories, I noticed that it all got a bit confusing at times because there was so much going on. To fix this, I got rid of one minor story lines or plot from each characters story that I thought was either in the way or didn’t add to the story. I thought this was going to take a long time, but I actually did it in about 1-2 days. Why can’t I be in this mood all the time?
I then went and made a major structural change to the story. Each of the characters take turns telling their story within each chapter. However, whenever there was a chapter that all four characters were present, it was very repetitive and just sounded bad in general. So I came to the decision that I would rewrite these chapters and instead of having four first person POV’s, there would just be one third person POV. I can’t really explain it well without giving details on the story (which I don’t really want to do yet) but it makes more sense if you knew the details. Anyway, I think I like it better like this, but I want to grab some second opinions first. I also cut so many words when I did this. My first draft was about 87000 words but the fourth draft was about 73000!
And then when I went on to my fourth draft and fixed my writing. I didn’t really have a plan for this, all I did really was read through my manuscript, get rid of lines I didn’t like, change some, and add some more. I did a lot of this in cafes over a few days which I have never done before, but I plan on doing it more often. I guess when I’m out, there’s less distractions or excuses for me to get up and do other things.
My novel has come a long way, but there is still so much more to do. I’m happy with the story and the characters and writing for now. I’ve sent it off to three beta readers to get their feedback and see what I can do to improve it. This is really nerve racking because I’ve never had anyone read any of my books before, and this one is on such an honest and raw topic which only makes it scarier! But I look forward to hearing what they think.
And now I’m going to share a bit more of my story with you.
Character of the day:
Becky is the best friend of one of the characters. She’s popular, a party girl, and always up for some fun. Be she is always there for her friends (especially the mc when she needs her), she’s kind and loyal. I didn’t expect her to be a vital part of one of the mc’s story, so she was definitely a surprise.
Song/chapter title of the day:
Chapter Two: Living Funeral by Dance Yourself to Death