Tuesday, July 29, 2014

What I Learned While Editing my Novel

So I have began to seriously edit my novel, The Becoming. Since I knew a lot less about writing than I did when I wrote the story, the work is tedious. But I truly believe that if any novels of mine have a chance of getting published, The Becoming is the one. I'm not giving up.

I'm reading the book over and taking notes. Already, I have covered pages with things I need to fix and I'm not even halfway through it, but I have learned a few things that I'd thought I would share.

There's no doubt that you have heard to show and not to tell. When I wrote the novel, I didn't know the right way to do that. By the grace of God, I figured out a simple way to fix that. Take a sentence like, "He looked mad." This sentence is telling. To change it to showing, ask a simple question. How did he look mad? Was his face red? Did he slam his hand on the chair? "He kicked the chair in front of him." Okay, this sentence isn't perfect, but it's a more creative than what it was before. How can make the sentence more effective.

As it turns out, I reread a few argument scenes with my protagonist tand her best friend. My protagonist character was doing some things he didn't agree with. As a result,  he was confronting her about it. Now that I looked over it, I realized how preachy her best friend sounded. My writing friend denied it, but I couldn't change my mind. I loved this character so much so I had to do something about it.

I stepped out of my comfort zone. I rewrote the scene. Since part of me liked this scene, I was afraid to at first. It had to be done. The new scene flowed much more than the old one. Plus, it gave the best friend a more convincing argument. If you find a problem with a scene that you love, don't be afraid to rewrite it. However, save the old scene.

Finally, I warn you about generic action tags. What are those? There are normal actions.. As in: She laughed. He sighed. It wasn't until I read a Go Teen Writers blog post did I see the problem with them. Not only are they unoriginal, they're boring. Instead, think of creative action tags.

How do you do that? Look at the things around you. I cross my fingers tightly when I get nervous. Someone might bite his finger when he gets mad. Things like that sound much better than the generic action tags.

Before I go, I want to encourage all writers who are editing their novels. I know it takes forever. It's not exactly fun, but it's worth it. Even if you hate the story, think about the original idea. If you still love it, don't give up. Edit your novel. Who knows? You might just get it published someday.

By the way, here's some great posts about editing that you should read. You might not be at the editing stage yet, but tips are always helpful. There are written by one of my favorite authors, Stephanie Morrill

How to Edit Your Novel in Layers
Editing in Layers: The Big Parts of Your Scene
Editing in Layers: Drawing out Emotion and Tension
Editing in Layers: Seven Things to Search For In Your Manuscript
How do I know when I'm done editing?

Reading: By Darkness Fled, The Serpent's Shadow
Just Finished Reading: The Throne of Fire
Want to Read: The Prime Way Program by Caroline George
Listening to: "Play It Again"- Luke Bryan, Taylor Swift


  1. Wow! That is so cool!! I love everything you write so i'm sure however it turns out it will be great!

    1. Thank you! Yeah, it's definitely a work in progress, but I'm keeping at it.


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