The process of editing a novel is a continual one. If you’ve been following the path I laid out here, you have done the following:
- Read through the first draft
- Performed a light edit
- Created a chronology
- Edited as you read
- Created an information guide
- Created a new roadmap for revision
- Added and revised scenes
- Edited with an eye towards continuity
- Had someone read and review your novel
At this point, based on the reviewer’s feedback and your own feelings about your novel’s progress, you will probably want to repeat some or all of these steps. For example, based on the critique given to you by your reader you can now reread your novel (step one). You can evaluate the novel in light of the feedback you were given. I recommend reading the whole novel first though, before acting on their feedback. You may find that you like things the way they are.
Once you have reread the novel, you can go through the process in order, or skip to the parts that you think apply to your second draft. You won’t, for example, want to create a new information guide from scratch but you may want to update that guide as you read through what you have. You may not feel you need to go through several steps before adding or revising a scene, and that is fine. After one person has critiqued your work, you may feel as if you are ready to face a workshop or writer’s group and get more perspectives. The process is up to you. These articles are only guideposts.
Good luck revising your novels! If anyone makes it to the point at which they are ready to submit their novel to publishers, let me know. If enough of you get there, I’ll start writing about the submissions process.