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  • Writer's pictureMegan DiMaria

Tips to get through the editing woes

Yay, for finishing writing a novel. Boo, for having to edit the darn thing.

This is the third (BIG) edit on my wip (work in progress). Maybe it's done. Actually, I've thought about one more scene that I want to add.


A few months ago, I attended an editing webinar hosted by Allison K. Williams and was blown away. This edit of my manuscript was much more demanding than what I've done before.


Before you start editing:

  1. Give yourself a pep talk. You're going to need it.

  2. Commit to the work, and it will be work.

  3. Plan on giving yourself grace. There will be frustrating moments, but you have push through.


Once you've finished writing your novel and you're ready to edit, consider:

  1. Whatever the state it's in, it's possible to fix the book. It might be an ugly baby, but you can clean it up.

  2. Is the GMC (goal, motivation, and conflict) clear?

  3. Do the first few pages draw you into the story?

  4. What are your character's stakes? Are they high enough?

  5. Does your character have obstacles to overcome?

  6. Are the characters fleshed out?

  7. Every story asks a question and demands an answer, does yours? (The answer defines your protagonist.)

  8. Is there a dark moment for your character where all is lost?

  9. Have you eliminated the backstory in the first 30 pages of the manuscript?

  10. Is there tension on every page?

  11. Have you created a good story world?

  12. Are the characters different from one another in speech and mannerisms?

  13. Have you removed "filtering" words: (I think, I saw, I watched, I heard, etc.)?

  14. Is there a clear character arc?

  15. Have you dealt with any show-don't-tell issues?

  16. Have you resisted the urge to explain?

  17. Have you done a global search for overused words/phrases? One of the phrases that I use too often is anything to do with eyebrows or "she jerked her head." I use the sidebar find-and-replace tool. All of the mentions of eyebrows, etc. pop up. It's discouraging to see your pet words/phrases overused, but it's fixable.

I think I'll get back to my edits and add a bit of heartache to my character. Meanwhile, write on, friends!

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