Thursday, 26 July 2012

Editing the First Draft

It's been about six weeks since I finished the beloved monster that is my first draft. And, for no reason I can explain, it feels like the right time to go back for 'round two'. But where do I start? I'm part-way through reading a good book about editing your work before publication and I've read countless tips on the internet, Twitter and other blogs. And now I'm close to information overload!

It seems the best place to start is to make a chapter-by-chapter outline of what the first draft looks like, with a paragraph of what happens in each chapter. Then I need to work out the theme/message. Next I ought to look at the protagonist (but what if there's more than one?) and how he/she changes over the course of the story. Then I have to write summaries of the subplots. Once I have my story and character arcs outlined, the novel needs to be split into three parts: beginning, middle and end. And then, only then, am I allowed to begin at the beginning and tackle Part One!

It all sounded quite manageable until I read one piece of advice which said: "Expect this process to take at least as long as it took you to write the first draft, and likely a lot longer." What??? Surely there is no way it could possibly take that long? I refuse to believe the second draft will take me longer than the first (which took over two and a half years for reasons which I won't even go into), but then surely there's no way that Life could drop that much dung on me this time - is there?

Anyway, onwards and...editingwards (or should that be 'editing words' - sorry!)


  1. Hi I left you a tag for the 8 Ball Meme on my blog if you would like to collect it sometime. It's quite useful if you want a bit of feedback on a piece of editing you are trying to 'nail.'

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks Suzanne, that sounds useful and I need all the help I can get! - I'll go and collect it (Sorry for the delayed reply but I've been moving house!)

  2. I know this experience!

  3. Can't wait to hear all about the editing process as it will help all the other writers out there in a similar boat.