On Writing: The Editing Process

Disclaimer: The following process was suggested by Marie over at Critique Circle.

Once your novel's first draft is complete, it is essential that you revise it if you want to send it to an agent or publisher and have the best chance of getting picked up. As with a Pringle, this is all much easier if you break it down. Marie has devised five basic steps which you can take to polish it up plot-wise, subplot-wise, genre-wise, character-wise, description-wise, grammar-wise, tous les choses-wise.

Edit for storyline. This is the round where you go through and make sure the plot makes sense and follows through the story. That the subplots wrap up. That you haven't forgotten, lost or dropped anything while working your way through the book. Make as many passes as needed to fix any and all plot issues and oopsies.

Edit for character. Everything from behaviour to appearance. Make sure names are spelled consistently throughout the book. Also, make sure that characters don't mysteriously vanish without concluding their plotline or even more mysteriously reappear after death.

Edit for description. By now things should be getting better, but make sure that you are describing things effectively, using all five senses. Also, this is a good time to make sure physical items don't unexpectedly change colour, shape or location.

Edit for genre elements. For fantasy you might double check on world building. Since you've already done three passes through the novel, things really should be fairly solid but this gives you one more chance to spot a problem.

Edit for grammar, punctuation and spelling. By now you should be able to run through and focus just on the clean up details. If you spot other problems, back up and give the earlier steps another pass. Don't rush things. You're not ready for the polishing up unless you've already fixed the plot. Take your time.

Repeat as needed.

Random Fantasy Title Brainstorm: Mirror.

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Check it out. Have a look at what other CCers are doing in the Real World!

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Welcome to The Dark Corner of the Mind. My name is Ryan Sullivan and my aim with this blog is to help others with their own writing, as well as to make note of some of my own writing endeavours.

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