The Art of Editing

The Art of Editing

Everyone who writes books knows that editing is a big part of the writing process. I’ve just finished editing the first round of my rough draft of Northern Lights. Here are some thoughts on editing.

It felt amazing that I met my deadline to finish editing the rough draft during my vacation. (Read more about my writing summer here.) Even though I’ve now finished editing the manuscript, I know from experience that I have a lot of work to do – before I can send it off to publishers.

During my editing, I have focused a lot on the story and the personal development of the characters. It’s important to me that the characters are three-dimensional and that you as a reader can relate to them and sympathize with them. In order for them to become more relatable, they need something that drives them, should be able to face challenges and have positive and negative qualities. I also think characters need to face trials in order to develop and grow.

Now I am going to let the script rest for a week or two before I print it out and go through it with a red pen. I already know some things that I will need to add and change, which I have written down in my notebook. In the meantime, I thought I would sketch out part two of the book series.

Tips for editing book manuscripts:

  • Wait at least four weeks before you look at the manuscript once you’ve finished your rough draft. Why? To get some distance between you and the manuscript. When you have distance, it is easier see what works and what doesn’t work in the story.
  • Read through the entire script from start to finish to see if there are any major errors or gaps in the story. Does the story follow a dramaturgical curve? Are the characters believable? Is the story believable? Do you want to continue reading after the first chapter?
  • Look at tempo, language and how the characters talk to each other. Delete unnecessary words.
  • If you want to learn more about things to consider when editing, I saw that Marita Brännvall had a prf with 60+ questions and tips for editing on her website.

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