When writing your novel, it’s inevitable that you will need to revise it. In fact you will likely revise it multiple times before it’s finally ready to be read by others, than you’ll need to revise it even more. Here are some ways to help you through this process, whether it’s your first revision or your fifteenth.
Take a break
Once you have finished your first draft to the end, take a few weeks’ break and set it aside before you look at your manuscript again. Distance gives you more objectivity to approach your work with another perspective. You’ll be able to flesh out your characters and ideas and it ensures they have been fully developed.
Read your manuscript from beginning to end the way you would read someone else’s novel to see if it makes sense. Read it for content, flow, and structure. Make sure your plotlines, subplots and characters are fully developed and connect with the main theme.
This will help you to identify any problems with rhythm and word choice. It will help you tighten you prose and make it more clear, particularly with dialogue. Be sure cut any of the clutter that makes it seem too wordy or to drag down the pace.
Be sure the point of view you have chosen for your story is the best style for you story and is consistent. A common problem, especially with first time writers, is shifting point of view or head hopping (changing from the point of view of one character to another within a scene). Ensure that if you have more than one POV character that you’re changing either every scene, chapter or every few chapters so your reader will know what to expect.
No piece of writing is complete without submitting it to scrutiny, and in part 2 we’ll look at how others can help you with that.