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After the First Draft - Needing tips about editing

I’m close to the end of the first draft of my third “novels”. The other two are also in first draft form, done through NaNoWriMo. I’d like to hear from others about what their editing process is like. I found “No Plot, No Problem” really liberating because it freed me to plot as I went along. But I’m not sure how to approach the editing process.
Thanks, folks.


Editing my first draft?
Let’s see…Print it out and let it sit on the desk/counter/table for a week or so, occasionally glaring fearfully at it, because I know reading it is going to be a TRIP! Once I finally get up the nerve, I grab my big box of colored pens (yes, I color code my editing :sweat_smile:), my music and headphones, grab the manuscript and leave the house. I usually go to like a coffee shop, library, or anywhere with shade/air conditioning, and tables. Then I spend the next several hours tearing it to shreds with colored pens and sticky notes while taking notes in a note pand specifically for that particular novel so I can keep track of things that may have possibly changed character/setting/plot wise throughout the writing.
Then it starts all over with draft 2.0.


Thank you!

1 Like

guilty :raising_hand_man:
color coding is great!

Two things, @Trudy_A_Karlson, there is developmental editing, that goes to the core of your content, and style/line editing. Do those separately!

When line editing, you concentrate on one specific thing line by line, say adverbs or passive voice … so I use color codes here to mark these, then in the next round, I have Dabble at my side making the corrections and changes.
If I notice plot holes, there should be a nice dialogue, this is rubbish type of things on the fly, I make a note, but I only work on that in a different run through.
Also, I go scene by scene, so my first scenes are perfect and the rest is gradually more trashy :slight_smile:. BUT, I get more motivated seeing how the first few scenes have improved, so I am less frustrated the further I get, not the other way round :smiley:.


I agree with @Tori_North! Re-reading is the best thing for me to start working on a second draft, though I do mine digitally. I also have one person (and only one) that I trust to read my first drafts and give me overall feedback on plot, characters, et cetera.
I then plan a bit of what needs changing (more antagonist here, less angst there) and then I start re-writing from beginning to end. Then I repeat the process until I’m happy, essentially. I also use Pro-Writing Aid and very brutally cut most adverbs without looking back or substituting, and then I work on the passive voice like mentioned above.