Editing is a deed that all writers dread once they finish their novel.
They’ve written their story, fallen in love with their characters–and now they have to tear it all apart. No prisoners.
It can be discouraging to dissect a story that you’ve spent weeks, months, even years on. Often (unfortunately) it becomes difficult enough that the author gives up completely, convinced that there is no salvaging the story they poured their heart into.
Rarely is this the case, so here are some tips to keep your love for your novel intact even whilst stripping it to its finest form.
List why you liked the story idea in the first place.
While editing focusses on all of the bad aspects of the novel, it can be easy to forget the aspects of the novel that made you pour all of your effort and time into it in the first place. Make a list somewhere of why you liked the idea. Keep that list where you can see it while you’re editing, and try to emphasize those aspects while editing.
Step away for a while.
Before beginning the arduous task of editing, set the novel aside for a few days, weeks, months–whatever it takes. Work on something else in the meantime. This will help you distance yourself from the novel so that when you return, you’re more level-headed and ready to take on editing the story whose aspects you may have forgotten, and will fall in love with again.
Break it up.
Edit by sections instead of tackling the entire thing. This will help separate and make sense of the events in the novel while editing, and makes it less likely for you to become overwhelmed.