Turn your manuscript into a novel

If, like me, you have just finished writing your first draft – congratulations! Ride that high for a while before considering the next step: revision and rewriting.

bookshelvesReally? It’s been eight months since I started this year of writing? I only have four months left to perfect my novel!! The big question is: can I do it? Actually, that’s self-doubt – it always pops up like a faint glimmer just before I start something new. It’s a fear of the unknown, a fear of failure – an old habit that has no place in striving towards BIG dreams.


Quickly replace your fears with courage and arm yourself with knowledge.


The real BIG question is: Where do I start? As I prepare to edit and rework my draft, I reflect on what I know about the process and seek to learn as much as I can.


If you don’t know much about editing, then it’s worth taking time to learn a little about it:

  • Developmental (also called substantive) editing is about the big picture. This can help you fix things like these: holes in your plot, story threads that dead-end, main characters that fail to captivate, secondary characters that should be scrapped or given a larger role, decisions about voice, order of the scenes, flow of action and pacing.
  • Line editing focuses on the sentence or paragraph level. Refine sentence structure and flow to make your writing both more readable and more pleasurable to read.
  • Copy editing is about grammar, punctuation, and proper word usage.

Editing Workshop Part 2: What are the Different Types of Editing from Word Cafe

Here’s a few things people say about this stage of the novel writing process:

  • Revise WHAT You Have Said. Go through all the pre-planning order to make sense of everything. Characters have a habit of taking on a life of their own during the writing, and that often means that what the characters do can also go off track in places, too. Changing your mind about certain aspects of the story should result in a better story. But it does mean that you now need to carefully check the manuscript for any errors or inconsistencies that might have crept in. Revise HOW You Have Said It. Polish the language until it flows as effortlessly as good conversation. Tweak the words and sentences until they are just right.

How to Write a Novel Step by Step from Novel Writing Help

  • Read through the entire book, chapter by chapter. Does it flow? Are your points clear? Is it interesting to read? Read it as if you are your target market. How does it feel?  Make notes.

Seven Simple Steps to Writing Your First Book from Solo-E.com

  • Read your manuscript from start to finish, focus on one part of the story. Then check to see the all the chapters are close to the same length, and that the story develops at the same pace at all points. After this, see that all the characters, scenery, and imagery are developed where appropriate. Then check for redundancy and repetitions.

The Phases of Editing from Why Was I an Author Again?

  • Use an editing checklist.

Editing Checklists and Resources For Writers from CommuniCate: Resources For Writers

  • Read through the whole thing, as quickly as you can. Read your MS again – take notes – list all of the big problems your story has. That section of the novel needs to be completely cut, replotted and rewritten. Next make a list of how you can fix these things. Start rewriting. Read your MS again, and list solutions again.

NaNoWriMo Revisions from Aussie Owned and Read

Here’s more editing, revising, rewriting resources:

Happy rewriting!


Photo credit: Bookshelf

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