Once you have written your novel, the concept of editing it may seem insurmountable. It doesn’t need to be, instead focus on a to-do list to make it simpler. Before getting into the nitty-gritty copyediting, start by editing your story for content first.
The number one thing to have in mind is the primary goal of your story. For example, if you decide to write the next best love story make sure the elements of your book (characters, chapters, events) circle back and contribute to that goal. If your story consists mostly of descriptions of the forest or historical facts regarding the pharaohs of Egypt, then consider one of two things:
- Remove those elements to ensure the goal remains, the next best love story. Everything must contribute back to that and should not be overcrowded by anything else.
- Change the goal of your story. If your strengths are in the extra elements. For instance, if you write compellingly about the pharaohs of Egypt more so than the love story in question, perhaps consider changing the goal of your story.
Revising content first saves time and energy. If you spend your entire day editing one sentence, checking your tenses and punctuation with such vigor it exhausts you, than once you have decided to remove that entire section the sentence is within, you will find a day wasted. Instead, editing content first and foremost will save you precious time.
Writing is the portion of the process where you put everything in your head onto paper, so do not be appalled if you find things to remove. Instead take solace in the fact that the editing process is the stage where you tighten the story to make it the best it can be. Don’t throw those things away, instead open a new document and place everything there. You may use those ideas elsewhere.
Remember the editing is a long process, and it should be done multiple times, but you are never alone. Call an editor to help you with this process.