Thursday, July 15, 2010

Putting Structure into the Self-Editing Process

Once I finished the novel, I outlined how I wanted my editing process to go:

1. One big read through of draft--general notes made on continuity, plot holes, characters, clues, etc. I also write a brief synopsis of each chapter for quick reference.

2. Substantive plot edit--fixing plot holes, research questions, making the whole thing make sense.

3. Character edit--putting the "paint" on the structure, if you will. Ensuring they drive the plot and their reactions are consistent.

4. Line edits--a tough look at syntax, cohesion, flow, etc.

5. Proofreading--check on basic grammar, punctuation, formatting, etc.

At the moment, I am supposed to be concentrating on #2. What is taking me so long, though, is that I keep trying to roll it together with #'s 3, 4, and 5. Which means the pace of the editing is going super slow. It's also unwise, I think, because I'll spend a lot of time crafting a character's reaction to a scene that might get cut.

I think I need to set some more concrete goals, time-wise, for getting through the plot edit. Any suggestions? What process do you have for editing your novel?


  1. My process is similar to yours, but I also use the AutoCrit Editing Wizard to help with steps 4 & 5. It's great at finding the weak points in my manuscripts.

  2. Janine- Very interesting; I'll have to check that out. Thanks!