This happens with many manuscripts I see. Writers query these novels still unsure of what it is and how they got there.
Here are my tips for the editing process.
How to get your book back on track:
1. Focus on the big picture
It’s so easy to get scrambled about the little details, but remember, the plot has to work as a whole first. Editing a full-length novel is no small feat. So develop a plan that keeps you editing in stages: big picture, small picture, then line editing. I recommend not to start with the small things, always start with the big picture and work your way down to line level.
2. Remember why you connected with the premise
Premise is everything. It has to be believable and make us feel things–just from hearing it or reading it on the back cover copy. Go back to the beginning and remember when this idea was shiny and new. And why this idea is the one you ran with. Go back to those feelings and rediscover the emotions that the premise revealed.
3. Think about your characters outside the framework of the novel
Instead of imagining your characters inside a box, that is the pages, think about your characters living life outside that box. i.e. What was their childhood really like? Click here for more questions to ask your characters.
4. Share it with another writer or reader
Beta readers or critique partners can be a big help. Yes, you are the one that knows your story best, but getting a second opinion is getting fresh eyes–and a much coveted reader’s opinion.
Q: What do you do when your manuscript has lost its way?