Editing A Novel

Hello friends! Today is Thursday, and it’s back to school for the majority of us on Tuesday. Can’t say I’m excited to get back to classes. I’m just enjoying being home!

For me, this winter break has been quite the literary adventure. I’ve read a few great books, am currently reading a writing memoir, and am busily working on editing the manuscript of my novel, which I finished back in November. (Refer to my Nanowrimo blog post.) I spent December resting my fingers (which I worked to the bone to finish that novel) and completely ignoring my manuscript. But, on December 31st, I printed all 286 pages, bound them, and gathered a plethora of colored pens. Because January is the month of revisiting and revisions!


My plan was to edit one chapter per day for twenty one days. Life got in the way, as it tends to, and now I am on Chapter 13, and it is the 16th. Oh well. The plan is still to have the first round on my revisions done by February 1st. After those are complete, I will do another read through of my novel and begin my search for beta readers.

For this blog post, I would like to give you a glimpse of my editing process.

The very first thing I do is sit down with my manuscript, notebook, pen, and cup of tea. This is typically early in the morning, after my family members have gone off to school and work. Then I start reading.

I cross out entire paragraphs, correct grammar and spelling mistakes, and make note of any plot or character changes that need to be made. I number the manuscript, then write in my notebook what large edits need to take place. This is the easiest part of the editing process, and only takes me half an hour or so, depending on how long the chapter is.

The next thing I do is open up Scrivener, a helpful writing software for novelists, and input the chapter I’ve been working on. This is where I will make all of my edits. I keep the hard copy of my manuscript and the notebook with my notes open next to me so that I can work off of them. This process can take anywhere from one hour for a short chapter, to five hours for a troublesome chapter.

Once I am finished, I open the corkboard view of the section I am working on and assign the chapter a label. My labels help me keep track of what month the chapter is occurring in, so that I can write the weather accordingly and keep good pacing.


This was just a quick look into my editing process. Every day is a little different, and some days are much more difficult than others. At the end of the day, I know I am working toward my dream of becoming a published author. Every step is a step in the right direction.


Enjoy the rest of your Winter Break! See you next week, CSU.