Author Topic: how to Edit your novel  (Read 5863 times)

Offline glued

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how to Edit your novel
« on: December 20, 2006, 03:32:03 AM »
I want to start editing the rough draft for my novel.
Problem is i start reading it and only take care of the grammatical mistakes or make some comments on the printed ms. For some reason I don't actually get to rewrite it. [I know procrastination is one reason.]

I know my novel needs major surgery but I just am not able to do it. What is the best approach to edit the draft and get it polished.

nassj

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2006, 03:38:19 AM »
hello Glued, how is the baby. I don't know this one, my sugestion would be to leave it alone in a drawer for another wee while.
Have you got it printed out? If you have you could curl up on the sofa at night with a red pen, read through it and cross bits off, add new bits, whatever. Might be comfy. Sorry I couldn't help more.  :)

Offline Symphony

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2006, 04:35:29 AM »
Hi there,

Don't worry! You're not alone! Here comes the difficult part and it's SOOOOOO difficult to get down to doing it. In effect, writing your novel is the easy bit. The hard work starts here - the tough bit, the demoralising bit but also the exciting bit.

Take it page by page or chapter by chapter. So you're only editing grammatical errors and typos? What's wrong with that? That's a great place to start because you can't edit any writing properly if it's got mistakes in it. Do that first and pat yourself on the back. Then I'd put it in a drawer for three weeks or so. Set yourself a timeline - put a date in your diary. Try and forget about it. Start on your next novel.

When you next take it out, you can start the real editing. Why would you need to rewrite it? If you're happy with it, you might not need to rewrite anything at all and that's fantastic. Don't get it into your head that you MUST rewrite. You might want to rewrite a chapter - or certain paragraphs or bits and pieces but we're not talking complete rewrites here. You might be the very one who doesn't need to rewrite ANYTHING!!

Read it again - and again and again. Read it aloud, too. See how it sounds. You might even like to record it and then listen to it back - can be very revealing. When you're happy with it, get someone else to read it, but don't rush off paying money for professional editors. Try your friends first - make sure they like the characters, that they don't get bored in places, that the chapters are clear. Do up a little questionnaire for them, if you like - particularly about bits you're worried about (but don't tell them beforehand).

It's a struggle because you think you've neared the end and the hard slog is still ahead. I hope, for your sake, that you perhaps don't have many changes to make at all. Hey! Keep at it - and by February you'll have written your synopsis and hopefully be thinking about sending out those first three chapters

Hope this helps a little bit - there are also plenty of books around to help you get started.

All the best,
Symphony

Offline bob414bob

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2006, 05:06:48 AM »
To Symphony,
                     Thats really helpful. I'm also about to start editing mine. I've just started a new one(in the hope of distracting myself) because I really want to get tuck into it. I will be good though and leave it a few weeks.

Offline glued

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2006, 06:45:49 AM »
Candy, thanks for the message. Baby is doing fine; I'm the one along with wifey who have to get up at night. Yep the little one is a night person and I normally walk her each night for 45minutes to when shes ready to doze off again. I shall be posting her pics here later. Thanks for the advice.

Symphony thanks so much for that piece of advice. I was getting exasparated, but your encouragement has cheered me up. And no i am unfortunately one of those who shall have to do some rewriting. Perhaps not on the second one. ;)

Bob, you stay away from that MS. I can feel you clawing out and trying to get it into your hands.

Offline bob414bob

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2006, 07:18:21 AM »
To glued,
             but its sooooooooo hard. This is how sad I am, I went out and bought two new red pens today so when the great day arrives, I'm ready to edit. I know I know, very sad!!!!

I did start my new novel last night though so that should help.
Good luck with yours, let us know how its going.

nassj

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2006, 10:38:56 AM »
Good luck to both Jo and Glued.

Glued, can't wait to see the pics, the sleepless nights won't last forever. They don't last long enough infact, it's when they get older, making demands, and have an answer for evertyhing that the fun starts. :)

Offline glued

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2006, 11:58:59 PM »
Hiya Candy,
You look great with the Chimp costume off or is this just the Candy costume special for Xmas and then the chimp comes back. :D
You are right about the answers for everything and then there are the questions which have no answers.

nassj

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2006, 02:58:43 AM »
lol  :)

N.Mott

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #9 on: December 21, 2006, 03:27:21 PM »
I recommend changing the text to 1.5 spacing and printing it off by chapters when editing. It reads differently somehow.

Offline orchid15

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #10 on: December 21, 2006, 10:04:59 PM »
I personally like to use Stylewriter pro.  It is a program that finds misspelled words,  improper grammar, easily confused words, overused words, weak words and passive verbs.  It isn't the only tool I use, but it is a good beginning.  the great thing is that after using it on four or five stories, I didn't write many passive sentences anymore.  The program improved my grammar better than any teacher ever did.

I also do word searches for 'that, just, only, very, would, could, seem, had, of, and but."  and I try to rephrase the sentences to do without those words whenever possible.
"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't havto get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." Robert Cormier
 

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Offline bob414bob

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2006, 04:46:03 PM »
To  orchid15,
                    Hi do you have a web address for style writer pro? I've been looking for it on the web, but I can't find it. Thanks

Offline eric

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2006, 05:26:12 PM »
The best editing job I've seen in MWC is what "Mysterious Presence" did for Katrina in her thread about her ms. "Beyond" in the Review your Work section.  I really recommend it to anyone about to start editing on their own, software or no software.  It shows you how to eliminate unneeded words, period.
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 06:11:30 PM by eric »

Offline orchid15

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2006, 08:49:37 PM »
Bob,

here is one place to get it
http://www.writersupercenter.com/stylewriter/

I don't get any kickback r anything, I was just pleasantly surprised when I used it at how much I learned.  Before I used to have trouble with passive ssentences, and now I write very few of them.

I'm sure there are people who do a lot better job than the program, but I highly recommend the program for beginners who don't know where to start.

Eric, I agree with you that we can learn a lot from what Mysterious Presence did for Katrina's excerpt from beyond, but that is pretty sophisticated editing that takes ime and effort to learn.  Anyone who can edit at that level doesn't need any editing program.  My reccommendation (and the plea for help from the poster of this thread) is for someone who is a beginner and wants help learning how to edit, and the program does that better than any other directions I've found.  I have been writing for five years, and I edited the old fashioned way for three years before findiong the program.  Whichever way we edit, it improves our ability to write, because as we see errors, we try to avoid those errors in the future.

I never found Word's grammar correcting program to be much help. or the other programsI tried.  What I like about stylewriter pro is that I learned so much from it.  I can ssee a time in the near future when I don't need it because I'll be following the rules naturally in my first draft.

the program had a 30 day free trial when I tried it.  If you want to do that, I recommend you have a lot ready to edit so you can get the most out of the program before it expires.

orchid
« Last Edit: December 23, 2006, 09:11:42 PM by orchid15 »
"The beautiful part of writing is that you don't havto get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon." Robert Cormier
 

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Offline Gyppo

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Re: how to Edit your novel
« Reply #14 on: December 24, 2006, 07:13:31 PM »
The ones who suggest tucking your MS away for a few weeks before editing are spot on.  Although it was a far shorter item I once wtote an article of about two thousand words and felt inspired to tackle it almost as soon as I finshed.

I rewrote the thing six times in quick succession, chopping whole paragraphs, compressing some to a single sentence which I felt conveyed the mesage even better.  All this on top of spelling etc.

Finally I was happy with the sixth version.  I compared it with the original and despite all the changes I'd managed to write myself almost into a full circle, there being very little difference between first and final drafts.

If you tackle the job too soon your brain will still be thinking along the same lines.  You will *still* be seeing it as an author, not as a reader.

It really helps if you can do a different sort of writing for a while in between.  Write a few factual items before attacking your novel.  This wil 'reset' your brain, like restarting a computer which has got itslef into a 'loop'.

Best wishes with your novel.  I've only had one published, but I still recall the feeling when the letter accepting it arrived.  Well worth all the slog of editing, no matter how pedestrian it seemed after the excitement of creating the thing initially.

Gyppo 
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In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1