Skip to main content
8 answers
9
Asked 296 views

Editing my first draft?

I have finished the first draft of my first book, and am almost done with the first draft of my second book. How can I get the necessary edits without all of the money?

+25 Karma if successful
From: You
To: Friend
Subject: Career question for you

9

8 answers


1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Michele’s Answer

Congratulations on completing drafts of two novels!

I see that some people advise you to ask ChatGPT to edit your book. Although ChatGPT might suggest good edits, beware of two problems:
* Anything that you send to ChatGPT might become available to others. Perhaps not the entire manuscript, but phrases and paragraphs could be part of responses that others receive
* ChatGPT might suggest rewrites that are copyright material

Instead, try reading over your own work to improve it. From the library, you can find many books about writing that will give you suggestions for making improvements. Ask trusted friends to read your work, so that you can see what works for them and what falls flat.

Good luck!
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Kevin’s Answer

First and foremost Congratulations on your first draft of not just one but two books 👏👏 Secondly, when you finished your draft did you read it out loud (ex. In front of a mirror) ? I would also bring up the idea of listening to music which can spark additional avenues for each book. Wishing you the best in your creative literary journey 👍
Thank you comment icon Thank you for the advice. Lydia-kay
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Ricardo’s Answer

Definitely consider giving AI a shot! The Chat GPT platform offers some truly amazing features that can assist you in proofreading and refining your written drafts. I personally utilized it to edit a whole series I'm planning to launch next year. The key is to discover the perfect prompts that will make the AI work to your advantage. For instance, you could say: "Review my narrative for grammar and syntax, but keep the content intact." Give it a whirl and see the wonders it can do for your writing. Wishing you all the best with your writing journey!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much for the advice. Lydia-kay
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Abraham’s Answer

Kudos on the fantastic strides you've taken in your writing journey so far! The insights shared by other experts are indeed valuable, and AI can certainly prove to be a beneficial tool when used with the appropriate prompts. Give SUDOWRITE a shot, it's packed with impressive features for a range of tasks, including editing and even rephrasing.
Thank you comment icon Your advice was so helpful! Lydia-kay
Thank you comment icon I actually signed up for SUDOWRITE after reading this, and have spent all day on it. I am very happy with the edits that it has given me and am ecstatic that it knocks off a large portion of the fees I would have had to pay for. Thank you very much for responding to my question you have just saved me a lot of money!!! Lydia-kay
1
1
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Richard’s Answer

Congrats!!! While writing a story is challenging, the editing process is sometimes the most challenging part. There are some free internet-based software tools available. AI is a great resource. Gramarly is a good one too
https://www.appconner.com/windows/grammarly
Thank you comment icon Thanks for your encouragement! Lydia-kay
1
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Fernando’s Answer

The first step starts at reading the current draft. Try reading it out loud in order to better get a feel for the flow and pick up on any inconsistencies. Take your time when combing through it. Another solid option is if you have a friend ask them to give it a look to help with the editing process. I will advice to avoid using any AI writing tool for the editing process. These things are unreliable and can't really grasp author intent, thus leading them to make some very poor edits and re-writes.
Thank you comment icon I will use this advice as I prepare for my career. Lydia-kay
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Roger’s Answer

Great job finishing the first draft! What a great achievement.

So what you've essentially done is brought a life into the world where there was no life. How you wrote it will determine how you will proceed.

Let's get something established right off the bat: WRITING IS MUSIC!
Keep that in mind.

If you wrote your story without chapters, or parts ... you started the first sentence then blazed on through until you finished ... I suggest going through the document and find the natural breaks and label them as chapters: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3 ...

By "natural breaks" I mean, read through your story, read through the events and scenes. Listen to the rhythm of the scene, how it begins and how it ends. Now, does the next scene continue, or extend the storyline from the previous scene, or does it introduce a new section, or major event in the story? Listen and feel how it sounds. Keep related scenes together, until the next major event introduces something new that moves your story forward.

But for right now - this is not super duper important if you don't get it right. And getting it "right" is up to you. This is your baby - you're in charge! And you can always change it a zillion times whenever you want, in whichever way you want.

But you need to segment this long block of text into "logical" sections/chapters so you can work with it, and the reader can read it without a struggle.

Part 2. Cutting The Fat

This may be the hardest part of your writing process. It may make you angry, or make you cry, but it must be done.

So you've spent a long time writing this beautiful story, with wonderful characters and a lot of cool locations and dialog, and you just love it! But now it's time to kill your darlings as one famous writer put it.

Read through each chapter, and remove every paragraph, every bit of dialog, that does not move the scene forward. If it's not important or vital to the story - cut it out. It's just fat that the reader has to mull through without getting them anywhere.

Have you ever talked to someone and they get off talking about some other thought, and you want to yell at them, "Get to the point! What does this have to do with anything??" You want them to cut the fat, and focus on the subject at hand.

Same with your story.

In one of my books I remember ripping out whole chapters and sections of dialog that (I thought) were brilliant pieces of work. And I had spent a lot of quality time with this material. But when it came down to brass tacks, it didn't further the story - it didn't keep the story moving forward. It was taking the reader down a rabbit hole. It was interesting stuff - but it was FAT. I cut it, but I saved it, in case I wanted to use it later. It was too painful to permanently delete - where's my kleenex?? :0(

So you've finally gotten your courage up and you're ready to cut out some fat. If your story is on paper, grab a yellow highlighter. If it's on your computer, set your highlight color to yellow, and let's get started. Make sure to have your own box of kleenex nearby - you may need it.

Read through Chapter 1. Read slowly. Read it outloud. If you're from the US, read it using an English accent. If you're English, read it with an American accent. How does it sound AND does every line and paragraph serve to move your story forward?

"Yeah, maybe I don't need to include this part about the ...". Then highlight the line or section. Then move on. When you've finished, read the chapter again, leaving out the parts you highlighted, and listen to how it sounds. Does it flow? Does it sound better or worse? Underline the parts you highlighted but decided to keep.

Now do the same with Chapter 2 and the rest of the chapters. And don't rush it! It may be tempting - but avoid it at all costs! This is your masterpiece. Your work of art. Writing is art. And you have to work it. You have to think about each word and every sentence.

Each sentence you write should encourage your reader to read the next sentence ... and then the next sentence. Any word, any sentence, that keeps your reader from reading further - needs to be removed or modified.

You know what? It's not easy. But if you love to write, and you love words and you love putting words together and love listening to how the sentences sound after you've written them - how it flows, and rolls off your tongue like honey. It can be a joyful, happy, frustrating and a rewarding experience.

Cutting the Fat is your second draft. Basically you've gone in there with a hatchet and removed everything that didn't keep the focus on moving your exciting story forward, step by step, and keeping your readers up late at night. YOU NEVER WANT TO BORE YOUR READERS.

Forgot to mention ... Once you've finished going over your story with your marker, it's time to do the deed and actually delete that fat for real. Once all the fat has been removed, save your document as "(story title) Second draft" or "(story title) draft 2" - you get the idea. Every change I make to drafts I might add a letter or number ("story title draft 2a").

Now this is my method. Other writers edit their story as they write it. They will write one day. The next time they write, they will go back and polish it up before they continue. There is no way I could write like that - I'd go crazy. I like to get it all out, and let my characters take me with them on their journey. Then after the ride is over, I go in and play around.

Once I've removed the fat in the second draft, I go back to Chapter 1 and start doing some cleaning up. Cleaning up grammar, spelling and punctuation. Punctuation is where the real music is made. But grammar and spelling are part of that as well.

Punctuation controls the sound of the sentence. Listen to each sentence as you read it slowly and out loud.
The quick brown fox jumped over the log and ran away,
The quick brown fox, jumped over the log, and ran away?
The quick brown fox, jumped over the log ... and ran away!
The quick, brown fox, jumped over the log, and ran away...

While those aren't the best examples, I think you get the idea. Using bold, italics, capitalization also changes the sound of a word or sentence.

So that's what I focus on in the third draft. And getting the words right. There are dozens (or more) ways to write a sentence. And a lot of words out there. So I may noodle around with that, or introduce a new character, maybe add a scene, trim off more fat I may have missed. Stuff like that. But whatever I do, it MUST drive the story forward, making the story clearer and easier to read.

Typically, adding stuff will only slow things down and muddle the waters. I forgot what author said this, but every word he could get rid of while editing, the happier he became. I think I shaved down my second book about 10% after my first couple of drafts. And it reads much better.

Again, you can work on changing what scenes are included or excluded from your chapters. I've even move an entire chapter to pick up the pace a bit. It went from Chapter 5 to Chapter 3. There was too much of nothing going on and I feared that my reader was going to nod off before getting to the good stuff. So I moved the good stuff a couple of chapters back.

With each draft you make smaller and smaller adjustments, or maybe larger ones. You're doing this and that, then stepping back, taking another look - reading it out loud - doing a little touch up, asking questions - like a painter or a sculptor. All the while your masterpiece becomes more than just words on a page.

And you know what? As you work on your story in this way your writing is going to get better. And you'll develop your voice.

I hope this helps. And I wish you all the best with your book.

Please let me know if you have any further questions, I'd love to help.

Ciao for now.

Roger
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Lydia-kay
0
0
Updated
Share a link to this answer
Share a link to this answer

Marlene’s Answer

Congrats on finishing your draft!

I'd suggest reaching out to editors on Instagram and Fiverr. If they're just getting started out you can offer them a lower price for an honest review of their services to help spread the word.

You're also probably really capable of catching a lot of edits yourself. I'd suggest using a program that will read your text aloud so you can hear the way it reads. For example, if you save your writing as a PDF and open it in Acrobat you can essentially turn your book into an audio book. Hearing your writing out loud can help you catch a lot of mistakes.
Thank you comment icon I appreciate you taking the time to answer this. Lydia-kay
0