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Editing. How do you go about it once you have a first draft?

(10 Posts)
Elmindarina Thu 15-Dec-16 15:02:06

Just wondering how other writers go about working on their manuscripts after the first draft is done? Do you pretty much write it all again? Or do you just edit - adding, removing etc?

I have a first draft of a novel which I wrote 4 years ago. I am now working on it, but ive written lots in between and I think my writing has improved because of it, so I've printed it out and am rewriting it...but better. Does this sound like the right thing to do?

I'd be really interested to hear what works for other people.

FinallyHere Thu 15-Dec-16 15:12:47

I find reading it out loud, to myself, but as if there were an audience there, helps me to notice where it could be better, maybe where i have left out words needed to make it flow better. Is that the sort of thing you want to do? Once it does 'flow' then i would a others to read it, to provide feedback on the overall piece.

iklboo Thu 15-Dec-16 15:21:38

I've heard a few writers do the 'put away & come back' edit.

schmalex Fri 16-Dec-16 09:13:49

I always put it away for a few weeks then have a reread and see what I think. I focus on structural issues with plot and character development first, which may involve a rewrite or cutting scenes / new scenes. Then once the shape is there I focus on the detail.
Sometimes it helps to focus on each character individually.

Wonderflonium Fri 16-Dec-16 09:18:54

This is how Chuck Wendig does it terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/01/08/how-chuck-wendig-edits-a-novel/

Madhairday Fri 16-Dec-16 09:32:13

I find it helpful to print it out so I can scrawl all over it.

I've done it backwards for a recent draft - started with last chapter and worked back to start - somehow doing it out of order helped me pick up on stuff.

There's a book called 'self editing for fiction writers' which is helpful and takes you through a step at a time - so you go through all the dialogue, slay the adverbs, check all the POV etc, a bit at a time. It's time consuming but worth doing.

Good luck!

Madhairday Fri 16-Dec-16 09:40:49

Love that, wonderflo! fgrin

HOHOHOvariesBeforeBrovaries Fri 16-Dec-16 09:44:59

I don't write much fiction these days but DP does. He orders a proof copy (he's ordered from CreateSpace in the past), hands it over to me and I do all the syntax, SPaG checks (I'm a stickler for that kind of thing in novels!), look for any glaring inaccuracies in the story and give him a verdict, and then he'll go back through it, add in or remove any bits he's decided he doesn't like and correct all the mistakes I've found smile

Elmindarina Fri 16-Dec-16 17:54:37

Thanks for all replies! It's slow going. And a lot of it is crap. But I guess that's the point of a first draft.

Elmindarina Fri 16-Dec-16 17:58:58

wonderflo thanks for that, it's great!

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