Every author has a very different editing process. The method I’ve been hearing the most popularity from is the ‘write it all in one go method’ then suffer through an incredibly long editing process.
That method is not for me, although being nitpicky really slows you down and can often keep you from continuing your novel, I’ve finally gotten down a method that works for me.
What I do:
- Write a chapter
- reread chapter and make edits in two separate sittings
- Send out chapter to a few writer buddies to peer review while you write the next chapter
- Read their feedback and make changes accordingly
- Rinse and repeat
This way, you don’t have a first draft by the end of your book, but a more polished third or fourth draft. Will it need more editing? HELL YES! But those edits will be way less daunting. I really enjoy this process because when I reread chapters they are often not as bad as I thought when I was writing them, and getting and implementing feedback gives me the confidence to keep going.
Once you do have a whole manuscript the more substantial edits take place: are there any plot holes? Are some sections or even chapters unnecessary? How can you beef up those verbs, descriptions and dialogue?
After running through the manuscript a couple times with this in mind, it’s time for Beta reviews! Unlike writer buddies, Betas don’t tell you how to improve your writing, but review each chapter as a reader. What do they think of the characters? What was their reaction to XYZ? Is anything unclear or overexplained? That’s the job of betas, to make sure it’s all good for your target audience and that the book is enjoyable. You can also do additional peer reviews during this stage or before if necessary.
After Betas it’s time to send it off to a professional editor. As I have no personal experience with this I’ll refrain from giving advice until I get to that stage.
Hope all you writers find methods that work for you and don’t pull your hair out with editing!