I’m halfway through typing up the first edits of my first novel. ‘John’s Holiday’ was drafted during National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) in 2010. It’s taken me over three years to work out how I like to edit. The main thing I’ve learnt is to give myself time to do rough edits each day at the end of the days writing. I did that in July this year but not in November 2010.
A little bit of planning would be good, and some decisions around tense and who’s telling the story early on are pretty essential. I’ve no idea who’s telling this story.. sometimes it’s John and sometimes it’s in third person. I’ve not really worked out what second person is yet. I need to read something in second person. As you can tell, I’m a learner, I learn by doing and I’m fully engaged in the doing and learning as I edit my way through my first five novels.
Dialogue in this novel needs more description and notes around the conversations so it’s easier to understand who’s talking to whom. I know who’s chatting, but I’m not sure the reader will. There are bits that read more like a script but I think that’s fine, it’s how I want it.
Further edits to ‘John’s Holiday’ will include ones to:
- sort out all the bits of research needed
- get the tense right
- fix the narration
- work out the timeline
- make sure all Chekhov’s gun’s have some meaning later in the text
- rewrite the beginning and end, I might keep the middle
- change a few names.. Joan’s already Molly.. I want to keep John
- I’m sure there’s other fundamental things that need doing like checking every sentence to make sure it’s moving the story on and needs to be there.. and add the description and bits around the dialogue that I mentioned earlier
- proof read.. oh how little people know about novels and how much work goes into them.. and what a pittance the author gets for their hard work.. wait, I’m doing this as my hobby
In my mind I’ve been thinking seven edits would knock my draft novels into shape. Unless I can do some of the edits together I was kidding myself, big time!
Can you believe I’ve got five drafts and have been writing for over three years? My current goal is to have these five finished when I’ll have been writing novels for five years. That’s Nov 2015. This one is the test to see if I enjoy the process and so I can see the different stages I go through when I complete a novel. In future, I need to write in a way that minimises the edits if I can but I expect I will always like to write in one go like I do during NaNo. The next challenge will be to write like that without the discipline of NaNo.