Friday, July 8, 2011

I can write, but can I edit?

So here's the thing. A few months ago I finished the first draft of a novel. I have to say, as I punched out the concluding period, I did have some sense that I had just completed something rather remarkable. But then, I started to read over what I had written. And I listened to feedback from those generous souls who read my manuscript. And slowly, my delusions of grandeur started to wash away, and it dawned on me: this thing needs a lot of work.

I am going to try to revise this novel-ish thing of mine. However, I know I can change my manuscript, but I'm wondering if I can actually improve it. I have ordered a few writing books from Amazon that will hopefully help me in this endeavor. But other than that, I am kind of at a loss. I know I can write, but, can I edit?

I am plagued with thoughts like, why am I even doing this? Is it worth putting effort into revising this work?

How have you approached the revision process? What strategies work for you? Please, please, clue me in. Because I'm feeling a little lost...


  1. Oh Kim, I hear you! Editing is hard.

    But you write so well and I know you'll get the editing part down.

    What books are you getting to help you?

    You do know that EVERY writer goes through a part of each novel where they say, why am I doing this?

    Plus, just to complicate things more, I'm beginning to question my advice on your POV. Maybe you can pull off omniscient just fine. It would never fly in my genre but might work in yours.

  2. I thought the exact same thing when I started to edit my MS--over a year ago--I work slow :)

    Critiquing and editing my critique partner's work REALLY helped me. When I started to see what worked and what didn't in their WIP's I started to see it in mine.

    I love author Janice Hardy's blog. She has amazing posts on writing and editing. Reading her posts helped me tons.

    I love the book series "Elements of Fiction Writing", some books are better than others. I especially love the one on Plot!

    Good luck--it's a long road.

  3. Shelly - I've ordered "Hooked" by Les Edgerton and, "Elements of Fiction Writing - Scene & Structure." Angie, glad to hear you liked that one - although I wasn't aware it was a series... oh my.
    And Shelly, the POV thing is really confusing me. Any recommendations on a book that addresses POV? ...

  4. 'I did have some sense that I had just completed something rather remarkable.'

    You did, my dear. I tip my hat.

  5. If you edit like you write, look out book world. A good book on POV is Characters and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card, but there are a lot of them out there.

  6. POV can be tricky: This book helped me---The Power of Point of View.

  7. It is by Alicia Rasley...sorry forgot to write the name of the author earlier.