How to begin editing

After finishing the first draft of my novel (a disgracefully long time ago!) it was time to start editing. Ah yes, editing. Suddenly thousands of things seem more important.

Where do you start? 60,000 words of jumbled mess, most of it written in the caffeine-fueled days of NaNoWriMo and most probably terrible. I know the bit in the middle when I ballsed-up the plot was going to be bad, and I knew there were thousands of inconsistencies, that is without the generally poor prose and clichés… So what do I focus on first? Where do I begin turning a first draft into something worthy?

I read it. It took a while. Not only did I read it, but I recorded each chapter, the goings on and the bits that didn’t make sense in bullet points below. Now, not only do I feel much better (there were some well-written parts in there, too!), but I also have all those thoughts in a nice handy table. Editing is the best tidying!

So where now? My bullet points made me actually think about what I was reading. My main thoughts were that the pacing really needs working on: one minute my character is devastated over the death of her friend, the next she is frolicking around with her boyfriend. Eugh, seriously?! I plan on arranging the plot on my bed in handy little post-its – something I should have done before I started writing, really. Then, back to re-writing. (We like that word, it has ‘writing’ in it!) Once the plot is sorted, I can start tackling the beast that is the language… it’s a beast that has teeth.

I hope my way of wiggling into editing is useful for someone out there, feel free to share your own editing tips below – they all help!

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