So you've finished your first draft. Now it's time for rewriting.
Don't groan. It doesn't have to be that bad. But it does
have to be done. And done well. If you don't feel up to the task alone,
you can hire help to guide you or do it for you. But before you do
that, read on to see what your options are.
Once the rough draft of your novel is complete, the first thing you need to do is take a break from it.
Yup. It's time for some time off. At least from that novel. If, like me, you have other ideas boiling out of you, pursue one or more of those. Just get away from the draft you recently completed for awhile. I recommend a couple weeks, anyway.
Then, begin revising. This needs to happen in steps. A novel is a huge project. And trying to do every step of editing needed in one fell swoop will leave you with a mess (and a headache, likely).
So when you're ready to start, go to my
edit a novel
page and download the free step by step editing checklist to guide you
through the process. From large picture to minutia. Only then is it time
to think about publishing.
If you get bogged down with that editing checklist (it's really long, after
all), you can look for help to guide you along the path of editing your manuscript. This might be a writer's group you belong to, where you can submit sections of your book for other's opinion.
I don't know if you can get a complete manuscript critique from such a group, so if not, you may want to search out a service that offers such. This will give you editing notes for the entire novel - at least if that's how the service works. You may find you get an overall critique of format and structure and no detailed ideas of what to edit or how.
You can also look for a professional editor that will give
you detailed feedback on changes that will improve your novel's plot,
characters, structure and more. A
might also help you through
If you aren't up to the monumental task (yes, it is big, but I think
it's fun) of doing a complete rewrite of your novel, you can hire the
work out. I recommend you ask for a brief sample edit before committing
yourself to anything like this, though. You still need the novel to
sound like yours, not someone else's.
Editing services may offer such a rewrite. Or they may only offer critiques. Do your research into the service, either way, to be sure you're getting what you need and are paying for.
No matter how you decide to do your
revising, don't skip doing it, and doing it thoroughly. Otherwise, your
book won't sell as well as it should. Make it shine with a bit of spit
and polish, and you'll be leagues ahead of the lazy folk.