If you have completed your book, then you are on to the next step of the process: editing.
A HUGE disclaimer: Your book will likely be reviewed and edited several times by you, but friends, by professionals, by everyone!
Now that the disclaimer is out of the way we can discuss the first step to editing your book, which is to edit plot and content first. You don’t want to spend days and days editing the sentence structure only to realize by the end of the story that you are going to remove the entire chapter. Take chunks out of your editing to-do list by tackling the bigger issues first and foremost.
Here are some great questions to keep in mind when editing for plot and content:
- What is the primary goal of the story?
- Does this chapter apply to that larger goal?
- Does this character fit?
- Does this event fit back to the large purpose of the story?
- Is there anything missing a reader would not know that you know as the author?
- Are you going in chronological order? Make sure the timeline works. For those who aren’t writing in chronological order, that’s OK, just make sure it makes sense.
- Does the ending serve its purpose as a cliffhanger or loose-end tie?
- Is there too much going on? Is it a great suspense story but you added science fiction that doesn’t fit?
- Is everything clear, but more importantly concise?
- Are the words strong enough to convey the emotions you need them to?
The important thing to keep in mind while editing your book for content is the overall purpose of your work. In other words, everything needs to fit and everything needs to go back to that overall goal of the story whether it is an adventure, a mystery, or even an autobiography.
For more information about this or any other author questions, consider picking up The Ultimate Guide to Becoming an Author by the Reno editing gals of Pypeline Editing.