Where to Begin—Revising a Novel

 

IMG_20170524_184659_633This summer, I set a goal to edit the first novel I wrote. Technically, I’m working from a second draft (first written in seventh grade), but it feels like a first draft because it’s so terrible!

As I look through my chapters, I am beginning to feel like I’m in over my head. Other than working with a poorly written draft, there’s just so much content to work with!

To start, I decided to break it down as much as I can and work from chunks. This way, hopefully I don’t feel too overwhelmed. Here’s a quick list of what I’ve done so far.

  1. Break novel by chapters and put each in its own document.
  2. Grab an index card for each chapter. On the front of the card, include point of view, starting emotion of viewpoint character, brief list of characters in scene, and a brief scene description. On the back of the card, include the ending emotion of the viewpoint character and anything you might want to change or any ideas you get while writing the card.

Really, these cards can contain whatever information you want, but this is what I felt would be the most beneficial to my novel in particular.

Just a note: The chapters probably won’t stay the same so the scene cards may need to be rewritten in the future. For me, as I edit, I will be breaking up chapters, lengthening others, deleting some, and even shattering information in a few to sprinkle throughout the novel.

As I begin this process, there are moments when it seems daunting and nearly impossible. I’m sure if you are editing a novel right now you feel it too; you are not alone! Stick with it, we can do this!

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