Monday, 16 June 2008

Ready, Steady, Edit.....

I have printed out my first draft and I smile. Then I panic a little as I think (aka worry)....... Now I have to edit it. It has to be so good that someone will want to publish it. What if I miss some obvious style faux pas and am laughed out of the publishing world? Etc. Etc.

So then I rush up to my bookshelf. I am sure that I have at least one book that advises on editing a novel. On my shelf I find "The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing" by Evan Marshall. It is a little dusty and forgotten. When I bought it a few years ago, I thumbed through and read little. This time I quickly search the contents and find the section on editing. There is lots of useful advice. But I'm not that comforted. Why? Because with so much to consider; I am feeling a little nervous.

I do a small search on the internet. One of the first sites I find is On this I find plenty of advice. In fact, I see myself spending much time browsing some promising looking articles and perusing the blog links.

My complete first draft sits next to me. I look at it lovingly. There are still no coloured pen edits and the pages are pristine. Tomorrow, I will begin to carve it up with a new set of felt pens!

Any kind and useful tips/comments will be gratefully received.


  1. I would love to be helpful and give you some useful tips here but judging by how slowly I'm going with my own editing, I don't think I'm at all qualified to.

    Your post sums up exactly how I feel too. It's hard to edit something and be sure that you're heading in the right direction.

    Best of luck with your editing. Dx

  2. From much trial and error this is the way that suits me:

    1. I read through the entire thing and make notes on the margins, cross outs as I go along, just ticking things over in my mind.

    2. I take the first chapter and read through it again, making notes/rewriting on the back of each page as I go. I think about plot, character, five senses description, show not tell, etc.

    3. I then edit the chapter on my computer, incorporating the rewrites/notes that I've made on paper.

    Doing it this way suits me because I find it hard to do 'big picture' edits straight on the computer. Also it's like doing two edits. But it is different for everyone - my advice is to play around until you find something that suits you!

  3. Hi Kat,
    thanks so much for popping into my blog, great to meet you! And you live in Cornwall, I am very jealous.

    Congrats on your first draft, that's wonderful. Now you have what to work with, it's not that staring-at-a-blank-screen feeling. I've never written a novel, so can't offered personal advice, but a great writer I heard speak recently was strongly in favour of leaving things in drawers for a while until you can look at it with fresher eyes. Come write some flash fiction in the meantime!


  4. Debs - thank you for your support. The great thing about meeting other blogger/writers is that it makes you feel less alone.

    Yvonne - many thanks for your detailed advice. It sounds very workable and I shall give it a try.

    Tania - thanks for visiting. I've heard similar advice. It's certainly worth taking a step back. Sometimes I get too close and it's hard then to be objective. I've been thinking about character names today after reading your blog.

    Thanks all :-)


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