The Grind

This is where that thing called perseverance needs to kick in, because once you finish you first draft, your journey is not close to ending. Now you need to go over your novel and make it as perfect as possible. BUT PERFECTION IS IMPOSSIBLE, so don''t forget it. Here are the key steps you need to follow.

Let it rest

I let my novel rest until winter break before I started to edit it

Write down what is important to your novel

Go back to the planning stage and go over what you missed.
  • A sentence summarizing your entire story
"A librarian leaves her isolated town to uncover the mystery of a missing boy"  - 14 words summarizes my novel, Hudson by the Day.
  • A two page outline of your novel, including a summery of the plot
  • Everything there is to know about your characters
  • Flashcards with all your scenes planned out
  • Conflict
  • Genre
  • Theme
E.g: Innocence must be replaced with knowledge eventually
or it could be as simple as "Good always prevails over evil."
  • Character backstory

Now sit down and read

This is where you might feel like spontaneously combusting. You will see redundant sentences, cliches, pages of telling and other disgusting things that happen on the first draft. DO NOT do what I did, which was a line edit on the computer before doing a read through. Read it first, and suffer less. Print it out take notes on major plot and character flaws. As you read, make sure the novel follows outline, theme, etc. Write these notes down on a separate page.

Fix the problems you saw on the first read through

Do I need to say more? Don't get carried away and fix more then you have to now that you have the freedom of a keyboard.

Scene it?

Look at your scene flash cards and make sure each action is followed by a reaction and a decision. The reaction and action's intensity should vary throughout the story. If a scene is not going anywhere, or doesn't move the plot, kill it!

And the Show goes on...

SHOW DON"T TELL, is the number one rule of novel writing, and it still applies when you are at the editing stage. Try to find ways of replacing boring telling with colourful showing. If you must tell, then make it interesting, funny, and make sure that the protagonist's voice is heard throughout it. This is where you check of BBBW (Big, Bad, Boring Words), and those tricky cliches.

Line please?

A line edit is down to the nittygritty words, sentence structures, and spelling mistakes. Look at each sentence and ask yourself how you can improve on it. Check to see if too many sentences start with I or He, or This, or That. The sentence lengths should vary too. Working on Hudson by the Day, I had some very, very short sentences I was experimenting with. Well, the experiment failed, so I mixed up the sentences lengths and tried to create variation.

Now, if you haven't already, type it all up

Don't try to change too much, or else your novel will turn into the Never Ending Story.