So you have finished your novel. First and foremost, CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Finishing that first draft of your novel is no mean feat. But while it may be tempting to send it off to an agent or publisher right now, your novel isn’t likely to be ready.

The stark reality of first drafts, is that they are drafts, which means they inevitably need editing.

At some point in time you are going to need some fresh eyes on your work, but the first step is to edit your own work.

The Three Stages of Editing

The final edit you conduct is what is called proofing to spot any typos or grammatical errors.

Beta Readers

While it may be tempting to approach family and friends, they do not always make the best beta readers.

Good beta readers are usually avid readers of the genre you are writing in, so can provide informed feedback about how to improve your novel.

Other useful beta readers are people experienced in writing or editing and are passionate about the craft.

It’s always a good idea to give your beta readers some specific questions to keep in mind when reading your novel.

  • Were you hooked from the start? Did you want to keep reading?
  • Did the story hold your interest? If not, why not?
  • Did the following feel vivid and real to you?
    • The setting
    • Characters
    • Dialogue.
  • Were there any parts that confused you? Or even frustrated or annoyed you? Which parts, and why?
  • Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in time sequences, places, character details, or other details?
  • Do you have any other specific comments you’d like to add that would help improve this story?

Change the font type of your manuscript with every round of edits

Let it sit for a while

Don’t overdo it

Use editing apps

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