Three Editing Secrets to Improve Your Manuscript
You’ve done it! After months and months of hard work and sleepless nights, you’ve finally finished your first draft. Time to send it off to agents and publishers? Think again. This is where the hard work really starts.
Now it’s time to go back to your first page and begin all over again. It sounds soul destroying when put like that but actually turning your first draft into a polished manuscript can be the most rewarding part of the writing process.
Here are some tips about how to go about it:
- Take a Step Back
To be objective you might want to step away from your novel for a while. This is the time to go on long walks or out for lazy lunches. Not only do you deserve the break, it will also give you the chance to come back to your work with a fresh pair of eyes.
- Read Your Manuscript in One Sitting
This may sound daunting but it will enable you to see the bigger picture. Instead of worrying about individual sentences, assess your novel in its entirety. By reading it in one go you’ll spot plot and character inconsistencies as well as passages that need tightening.
- Question, Question and Question
Does the novel have a clear beginning, middle and end? Are the characters engaging and three dimensional? Are they driving your plot or vice versa? Is there enough conflict? What does your protagonist want? What are the barriers to them achieving their goal?
By looking at your novel in this way, through the eyes or a reader rather than a writer, you will end up with a manuscript that is nuanced and compelling.
And most importantly by taking the time to edit carefully you’ll end up with a piece of writing you can be truly proud of. Good luck!