I have been working on the first draft of a book for some time, and as some of you know it's been an exciting time to be done with that draft. But now the work of rewriting begins and the difficulty I'm finding is that there is an overwhelmingly high wall of questions and fears that are flooding me on a regular basis. When that happens I read and here's what I have uncovered so far.
Editing should generally go from big to little, but creating happens wherever you are in your journey.
Good ideas often only happen after bad or cliché ones
Revision as you go is a form of procrastination (for me)
While writing is a solo sport, there are plenty of ways to get input that is valuable and that is worth the effort!
The method depends on you. So my advice is to read about how others do it and then try something - REALLY try it.
If it doesn't work or make sense once you've spent some time and effort, try what someone else does.
Overall the point of editing isn't to do a process that someone has perfected, it's to fine a useful, effective process that I can do.
My current plan:
Read the whole thing from start to finish, without a pen in my hand.
Record ideas and write additional sketches and back story but don't put it in the main manuscript yet.
Stop and think about the big picture issues and/or questions you have after reading the whole thing.
Do a scene map / reverse outline and assess the arc of each scene with things like: goal, hurdle, outcome, effect on character or plot all that (this is a list of items under development for me, but I think it will end up about twice that size as I consider it (even now I think that location should probably be added to the list.)
Rearrange and add place holders for missing scenes or chapters.
Revisit the opening an closing. I like the ten opening and ten closings challenge. (I'm still working on closings)
Now we're getting into the stuff I haven't really started to do yet.
Work through the manuscript scene by scene to correct issues, find gaps, and step back and see if the story arc for the protagonist and others seems complete and good.
Work on the content / prose. I think that tools like Autocrit will be key here.
Beta readers (with questionnaire)
Final edit by me then professional help.