How to Edit Your Novel


January 17, 2022




Notice From Rochelle


Pricey Writers,


Do you want somebody to examine in with about your writing?

Take into account becoming a member of my Writing Accountability Group. That is a tremendous method to keep dedicated to your writing and be taught extra about you and your writing life and elegance:


I’m additionally taking part in a cool summit. Whether or not you’re wanting to flip an thought right into a storyline, make the story move or devise a subplot, Be A Bestseller 4.0: Write Your Novel With Confidence has one thing for you. The category runs from 16-27 January 2023 and it’s completely free. You may join right here:


As I’ve been revising my novel, I’ve requested my pals how they do it. J. Mercer was sort sufficient to write a submit about it—and it’s so useful. Learn on to be taught her suggestions.


Completely happy writing,

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach



by J. Mercer


If I had to simplify the idea of modifying into its most elementary operate, it could be to deal with want. What is important? This may be utilized at each flip, relevant to the general image (what does this setting or character add that no different setting or character can do?), the center (is that this scene change obligatory or does it fracture my move?), and the top, once you’re agonizing over traces and phrases.


That being stated, we, as writers, are always pushing ourselves to dig deeper and construct extra. The 2 really feel, at instances, contradictory. Stick to what I want, however construct up and flesh out to make a fairly image? The place’s the precise stability of these two issues, and the way do we all know it once we see it? How do we all know when to lower and when to coloration? As a result of the colour most definitely provides life, however an excessive amount of that we don’t want, and we’ll lose the reader.


What’s essential to keep in mind is that want isn’t naked bones. A guide wants problems, life, and layers as a lot because it wants fundamental trigger and impact. So how will we break this down? What, total, does a narrative want? Listed here are some basic questions each author can be mindful in the course of the self-editing course of to assist you discover the precise stability:


ONE: Do I’ve a linked PLOT (trigger and impact) that strikes the story?

What do I imply by a linked plot? I imply that your character wants to drive issues ahead, that each time one thing occurs, or somebody does one thing, we because the creator want to maintain observe of the dominos that may fall, somewhat than forgetting to deal with them.

  • For instance, CUT in case you have extra subplots than you’ll be able to maintain observe of and wrap up in a satisfying method.
  • COLOR in case you have too few subplots that your story is brief or lacks complication.


TWO: Does my principal character have AGENCY?

Character company implies that your protagonist is making selections that have an effect on the plot, somewhat than the plot merely “happening” to them. A plot creates exterior momentum to your story, however character company pushes momentum from the within as nicely. To ensure that a personality to have company, they want motivation and a aim. They have to care about one thing and have a perception framework that originated of their backstory which can or will not be true (which they will discover in the course of the course of the story). Your character, what they need, and the way they struggle to obtain it—all of this comes collectively to create emotion, with out which, you received’t maintain a reader for very lengthy.


  • CUT in case you have too many characters current for just one function. Suppose exhausting about combining two of three of them. This may really feel like chopping your individual coronary heart out, however typically a personality that’s on the web page for a couple of cause comes throughout deeper and extra compelling than in the event that they’re solely there to fill a job.
  • COLOR in case your character doesn’t know what they need or in the event that they aren’t making any selections for themselves. If one other character is making selections so as to propel the story ahead, possibly it’s their story we needs to be studying.



THREE: Does my plot have sufficient TENSION to maintain the reader engaged?

After getting the plot engaged on the character, and the character engaged on the plot, you’ll want to throw some rocks at them. And possibly just a few extra. What you want listed below are sufficient threads, sufficient subplots, to create the suitable quantity of intrigue or complication to your age group and style.


  • CUT if each second is tense and there’s a lot battle, protecting observe of all of it is complicated.
  • COLOR when you’re being too good and shying away from hurting your characters.



FOUR: Do I’ve sufficient DETAILS to add dimension to my story?

Description is required to breathe life into your world. Particular is sweet. Repetitive isn’t. Select your particulars as to how your POV would discover them. If you happen to’re in a detailed first particular person, you’ll be able to solely placed on the web page what your character could be paying consideration to. For some authors and genres, element wants to be heavy-handed, and for others, it may be gentle, however irrespective of who you’re or what you’re writing, being particular is what creates a completely immersive world.

  • CUT in case you have set one scene for too lengthy with out dialogue or motion, notably if, by the top of it, you’ve forgotten what your characters had been doing within the first place.
  • COLOR when you had been considering the reader might fill within the gaps how they needed to with out your assist. They could have the option to do that, however your story received’t really feel like one thing they’re leaping into when you don’t paint a transparent sufficient image.


Discovering Stability

Discovering the precise stability of what you want and what you don’t performs into tone and voice, forming your individual private writing type. This implies there isn’t precisely one proper method to do it. If there was, there would solely be one style and age group of guide, they usually’d all feel and look and skim the identical. That’s excellent news! You get to make the foundations for your self and your guide, the identical method you get to make up your individual story. Simply don’t neglect to maintain coming again to the query “Do I need this?” as your information.



Concerning the creator. J. Mercer grew up in Wisconsin the place she walked residence from college along with her head in a guide, stuffed notebooks with tales in junior excessive, then went to school for accounting and psychology solely to open a canine daycare. She now writes younger grownup and girls’s fiction novels full time and talks modifying on The Novel Ending podcast. Her novel TRIPLICITY received Moonbeam and Readers’ Favourite awards, whereas AFTER THEY GO and SHADY WOODS obtained good scores from the BookLife Prize, an indie arm of Writer’s Weekly. For updates and information, you could find her on Fb and Instagram @jmercerbooks, speaking about what she’s studying and different bookish issues.




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