So I finished my novel. Now the hard part’s done, right?
That’s what I thought, too, until I actually finished my novel. And then I realized I had to go back and read how horrible it was, and now the amount of stuff I’m going to have to rewrite, delete, or fix in some way or another is giving me nervous breakdowns.
Currently, it’s just me editing my novel. I’m on what I have come to nickname “Draft Alpha,” aka the draft that’s so terrible nobody else can ever bear to read it. I’m currently editing my novel on my Kindle (I sent myself the word doc file) and typing notes and highlighting it wherever it needs to be rewritten/deleted/fixed.
So basically, I’m tearing my dear apart in every way which I can.
The CyberWorld, Prologue
- Is it really a good idea to start your novel with a description of the color of the walls, unless it’s relevant to your novel? No. But it happens to be relevant.
- Promising starts aren’t always promising.
- “A girl with straight black hair,
wavy at the tips, was sitting in front of it.” Don’t over-describe. Description is good, but please don’t go into how wavy her hair is at the tips versus at the top.
- Don’t state obvious things. Nothing more needs to be said.
- “She had blue eyes,
but they had already begun to become laced with gray.” Don’t list details unless the reader knows why they are relevant. For example, in my quote, the reader doesn’t yet know the significance of her eyes turning gray. They have about as much information about my novel as you do at this point.
- Take out description that will make your sentences sound clunky. Chances are, if it’s jerking the reader out of the book, it’s probably not necessary.
- “The girl replied,
ice in her tone.” Show, don’t tell. And don’t use more than one descriptor word for what characters say. Limit it to “he said/replied/asked.”
- Stay in the same tense. Don’t jump between them, unless it’s a part of your book, where your character narrates a flashback and then narrates present-day. (Flashbacks are useful, but tip from the next chapter: they’re not always necessary or appropriate.) Tense changes are especially weird if they’re in the same sentence.
- Don’t add details that precede appropriate character development.
- Stick to the same stuff throughout the novel, or at least offer an explanation for why things are different.
- Don’t change the tone of the novel, especially in the beginning of the book, just to put in one important detail. Find another way to incorporate that detail. The beginning of your novel introduces your work, so if the tone changes for the rest of the book, match the tone so your reader knows what kind of novel he or she is going to be dealing with.
- Be ready for your face to look like this by the time you finish reading your first chapter: (Mine did.)
Well, that would be all. The Prologue’s relatively short, just three pages long, so there wasn’t so much stuff to cover. I may or may not do the next chapter in two parts, since it’s WAYYYYY longer than the next three chapters combined (10 pages! Whew!).
Okay, now I’m off to sleep… I think. I still have around an hour before I really should get to bed, but we all know the way I procrastinate…
InkOutLoud inspired me to share with you the ups and downs of editing my manuscript, through her LiveBlog: In Which I Edit My Manuscript series.