19 Resources to help you edit that novel

EditingI originally started blogging because I wanted to share my journey towards writing success, but now I also blog because I’m dedicated to helping others build their own writing careers. I want to help you not only explore different writing methods, but to master as many aspects of the craft as you can.

One thing crucial to your success as a writer is the ability to edit. This is true for writers of all kinds, and especially true for novelists.

Now that it’s been a couple weeks since you finished your novel, it’s time to start thinking about editing. Starting before the holidays are over is probably a bad idea, but brushing up on your editing skills is always a good idea—and if you’ve been at this a while, you probably have a couple other projects that could use a serious edit(or three).

So I’ve compiled a list of editing resources to help you turn your first draft into a novel worth publishing, mostly focused on content instead of grammar. With any luck, these resources will help you as much as they’ve helped me.

Editing and the Writing Craft: Tips From an Editor – This interview over on the Creative Penn blog gives you advice directly from Joanna Penn’s fiction editor.

How to Karate Your Novel and Edit that Motherfucker Hard: A No-Fooling Fix That Shit Editing Plan to Finish the Goddamn Job – I’m not sure he could have made the title any longer, but Chuck Wendig is a fantastic writer and a really funny blogger with practical advice written in a funny way. I suggest subscribing to his blog while you’re there. It’s worth it, trust me.

The 5 Biggest Fiction Writing Mistakes (& How to Fix Them) – A helpful article from Writer’s Digest.

Tips on Self-Editing Fiction Books – Not the most comprehensive resource, but certainly a useful article.

How to Revise a Novel – Rather successful author Holly Lisle offers up her revision method and offers some practical advice for any novel writer.

Creating Emotion in the Reader – Not specifically focused on editing, but creating emotions in your readers is the end goal, right? Learning how to do so will certainly make your next draft stronger.

Top 10 Book Self-Editing Tips – Yet another useful article with good advice for editing your novel.

Writing a Novel? 6 Visual Storytelling Techniques to Borrow from Film and TV – Rewriting might be different from writing, especially if your first draft wasn’t particularly awful, but some scenes will certainly need to be rewritten entirely and might just be better if you use these techniques.

How to Edit Your Book Until It’s Finished – This blogger will tell you that writing is revision, and give you some concrete advice on how to do that revision.

How to Edit A Novel: Bringing Your Manuscript to Perfection – I would argue that no book can ever be perfect, but this is still a valuable article with actual examples.

7 Deadly Myths About Editing And 3 Inspired Truths – A little bit less instructional than most of the other articles, but very true.

Marcela Landres on Editing Fiction – An interview with former Simon & Schuster editor discussing how novelists can get their work ready for submission.

Tips for Editing Your Nanowrimo Novel – From Lifehacker, this article is focused on those of you who are editing a first draft from Nanowrimo, and also has a section on apps that can help you get your editing done. Yes, there really is an app for everything these days.

Editing Your Novel As You Read It – And one final article I hope you’ll find helpful.

How To Find a Beta Reader – This is a pretty thorough article that should help you find a beta reader in no time. Beta readers are critical to your success, so make sure you don’t stop until you find a good one!

What I’ve Got To Say About Editing

Here are some of the articles I’ve written over the years that can help you edit your novel:

Create Your Editing Watch List – An Editing Watch List can help you stay on track so you don’t find yourself editing for the same things three times.

On Overwriting and More On Overwriting – Two articles I wrote about something I see all the time, even in books published by large presses, but mostly from indie authors.

Preparing To Edit A Novel – There are a few things you should do before you start editing a novel, and I’ve summed them all up nicely here.

Editing definitely isn’t my favourite part of the writing process, but it’s an essential one. Often times a novel needs to go through a dozen edits before it’s fit to see the light of day, and that’s fine. What isn’t fine is believing your novel is good to go the moment you’ve typed “The End”.

Do your career and editors everywhere a favour by choosing to edit your novel at least three times before you send it anywhere except to a couple trusted beta readers.

By the way, last week I released a short ebook of 110 Novel Planning Resources, available to my subscribers only. If you’re not already signed up, sign up for the newsletter here to claim your  free resource guide today! I only send out emails once a month, so you won’t have to worry about me cluttering your inbox.