read these articles in sequence starting with Conflict
good writing is rewriting
to Edit—not too soon
danger of editing is that you can get caught up in it
when you should be spilling your story out instead.
It’s not too surprising, then, that a common
approach—the one I found liberating—is to not
really edit…at least not until after you’ve written
Say, for example,
that you’ve written two pages in a day—because you
just wrote, not focusing too much on getting each
word right. The next day don’t waste time endlessly
editing, instead quickly go through and clean up
the obviously ugly stuff. Ten minutes. This both gives
the writing its first editing brush over and sets
you up to dive into the next section.
Keep this up and
before long you’ll have a book (not a few pages of
nicely edited words).
completed Novel away before you do
Once you have
finished your novel, lock it away in a drawer for a few
months. Many great writers (e.g. Stephen King) swear by
this. It allows you to gain a little distance from your
work and will give you a fresh, more objective
perspective when you finally do pull it out and attack
it with your big red pen.
verses Line Editing
editing is shaping the plotting, pacing,
characterization and narrative structure of your
editing is working on the your writing style,
making it say what you want it to, making it
readable, effective and interesting.
This is one aspect of
novel writing I find impossible to concisely summarize. Review
developmental editing's various components with my site's articles
and those in the Good Links section.
At its most basic,
refining your story's development includes making sure
its overall tension rises continually toward the climax
and that your characters' growth and actions are organic
and make sense. Check that you've covered the basics of
internal and external conflict and have created a
powerful interplay between them.
Also be sure your readers
don't know where you're taking them by
including reversals and surprises and playing with their
expectations. Everybody hates being able to guess how a
book will end.
Many writers look for
outside input as to where their story has gone weak or
awry, but I've learned that usually people just tell you
what you already know. Skip this step in the process and
just be brutally honest and brave enough to cut deep and
rewrite where you intuitively know you must.
to Line Edit
how to line edit is really knowing how to write. The best
single resource for any writer is a tiny book called The
Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. Don’t got
it? Get it. It’ll be the best six bucks you’ll ever
spend. It’s available online at
the link below.