There is no end if you never have a beginning. Your novel has to hold the attention of the audience, making it exciting to read.
Editing the Dreaded First Draft © 2011
Written by Joe Vojt
To capture the emotions of your story requires editing your first draft. And editing is important and necessary to prepare your novel for publication or presentation. Editing enhances your novel, improving it to a finer quality of work, whether it’s by adding to, deleting or through a second reading making it more interesting to your audience.
The method I have used requires a computer or world processor since it facilitates the editing process. The steps below are related to Microsoft Word, but there are equivalent processors that have similar functions.
Step one is to copy you novel and rename it editing # 2 as an example or any other names that will help you track your hard work. Once that is done, you setup your novel with the following guidelines. Note: All the following commands are known as a Menu bar. You use the Customize dialog box’s that are listed normally on the top row. Each document window contains a control menu. You start by clicking the icon “Edit” and under the menu you will find the words “Select All”. By clicking the Select All this will highlight your complete novel.
Step two you click the icon “File” and under the menu you will find the words “Page Setup”, the Page Setup window will appear and you verify that the following Margins are in place: “Top & Bottom are both 1” Next check that the Margins “Left & Right are both 1.2”. This will set up all your pages in the novel.
Step three is to go to the “Format” icon, under the menu you will find the word, “Paragraph” you move down until you see click on the icon and look for “Line spacing:” you select “Single” then you click on “OK.” This will reduce all your writing to single spacing. Now you should have the novel set for Step four.
Step four is a method to create chapters using my unique system. I have used two ways of breaking the novel into chapters. I came up with breaking the novel down to five or ten pages. Depending on whether your novel fits within the five or ten page breaks. Important: When you make a break, find an area, or create a spot in the story that leaves you with a cliff hanger. You want your readers to anticipate what will happen next. Allow yourself a one-page plus or minus leeway.
Step five occurs when you have created your chapters. Now you have to make them work. What I discovered in this step was going back to writing an outline in a small-lined notebook. I write the chapters on the first page and the date next to it. Under each chapter, I write a brief outline covering, who, what, why and where, including the characters. This should only cover a short basic outline of what the chapters are all about. Keeping about twelve lines of data, I quickly discovered if areas did not flow with my objectives. This generates a new outlook of what has been created.
Step six is when all the chapters are documented and you can then make necessary edit changes. Here the objective is to blend each chapter so as to move the story on and keep it exciting.
Another byproduct of editing the dreaded first draft is that you will be able to develop a different view of understanding where some words or sentences might not be essential to your plot. This method will highlight all factors of your story by making them specific, clear and with a more creative edge. Your novel has to hold the attention of the audience, making it exciting to read. There is no end if you never have a beginning. Hope this will help those that find it difficult or feel that it is impossible to make adjustments to enhance your creation.
This article, “Editing the Dreaded First Draft” was published in The Authority Volume 18 Issue 3 March 2011 Connecticut Authors & Publishers Association—Since 1994.