The next step in the writing process is to write it again. Yep, once you’ve finished the first draft, you have to move on to the second draft, because your first draft will most likely be terrible, and as I’ve said in another post, that’s a beautiful thing. My first drafts are terribly written, but once I move into the second draft, I step up my game in the quality of the writing.
Second drafts are where you improve the story you have, and is essentially a better version of the first draft, quality of writing and story included. But that doesn’t mean you should stop with a second draft, you could write three, or four drafts if you think the story needs it.
Once you’re happy with the story, it’s then time to move on to the editing stages.
I’m a bit of an obsessive editor. I just can’t help myself. And there’s good reason to love the editing process as well: It’s fun! Editing comes in two stages: editing for content, and editing for quality and voice.
Editing for content means editing the story itself, and it doesn’t have to be full chapters and scenes either. When editing for content you need to make sure it’s as tight as can be. For example, if there’s a scene in your story where your characters do nothing to move the story along, then cut it. If a scene feels like dead weight, cut it. You have to be brutal in this stage, cutting everything that doesn’t move, or help the story and plot. Even if you love the scene, cut it if it doesn’t advance the plot. It will make your novel tighter and will improve it a hundred fold.
Editing for quality and voice means editing the text until it’s as tight and flowing as it can possibly be. If there are words that can be changed or removed, do it. In the end you must listen to your sentences, speaking them aloud is a great way to know if your sentence “has it” or if it feels a little lumpy. My first drafts are essentially one big lump! Anyway, edit, edit, edit, and edit some more for the road. I edited the Restoring at least around six or eight times before I even considered sending it to my readers, and after the tenth time, I did! And even then, there will probably be a few mistakes. No manuscript is perfect, which is why you need help from professional editors and friends who will give you good, critical feedback. Publishers expect perfection, give them any less, and you’ll probably be rejected.
To all who’ve read and are reading my novel, I say thank you for your instructive advice. I’m constantly improving myself each time I sit down to write, and having other readers advice gives me a good foundation to build upon. If you haven’t read it, my Beta reader post is still up for anyone wanting to help. Just send me an email or comment, and I’ll send it to you.
For now, this is the last of the writing process series, but since writing is a major part of my life, it won’t be abandoned. And once I step into the publishing world, I’ll be taking you with me! But for now, I’ll be moving onto other things, such as music, Christian teaching, and more reviews of both books and music.
Thanks for reading guys, I hope this has inspired you to write your own novel. God Bless.