4 Ways To Edit Your Book Back on Track

530973.stock.xchngWhen you go back to edit, do you ever find your book has lost its way? Not sure what it is anymore? Too close to it to see it clearly?

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?

How To Critique Other Writers

researchPart of being in the writing community is critiquing, editing and beta reading other writers’ work. It can bring so much to your own writing by helping you be clear about craft issues. And it can be a wonderful circle of support. However, it’s one thing to read someone’s work, but it’s another to provide editorial notes.

Here are my 4 tips for critiquing other writers:

1. Build them up and not down. Even if there are major structural or character issues, part of you job as a critique partner is showing them the good in their work, as well as what needs improvement. All writers are unsure of themselves in that moment when they send things off for another person/friend/colleague to review it. They want you to enjoy it so make sure you tell them the good, too. By highlighting what is good and what’s working for readers you’re going to help shed light on how to frame the issues that aren’t working.

2. Don’t harp on the same issue. Make note of it once. There’s no need to repeatedly make note of the same thing. Give credit to the writer that they’ll be able to carry that note through the manuscript. Continue reading How To Critique Other Writers