Tips for Your First Edit: Tying Up Loose Ends

Written By: Book Marketing International - Jan• 13•14

After you’ve finished the first draft of your novel, it is important to go through your story and pick out problems.  Whether you changed the name of a character or ignored a plot detail later on in your novel, your first round of editing should involve streamlining your storyline and tying up all the loose ends.

The well-known Chekhov rule comes into play during this stage.  If there’s a rifle hanging on a wall in the early scenes of your novel, it absolutely must go off at some point or don’t have it there at all.  Removing irrelevant details helps clean up your novel and makes the necessary elements even more important.

A few tips for identifying loose ends:

-       Identify all the objects in your book.  If you’ve introduced an object into your book, it needs to have a reason to be there and some inherent value.  Even the most inane items, like pens or shoes, should have a purpose, even if it’s as simple as signing a document or going for a walk.

-       Answer questions.  Read your novel in a way someone unfamiliar to your storyline would:  where did this come from, why is he doing that, what is the purpose of this character?  If the questions aren’t answered or implied at some point in your novel, they need to be addressed.

-       Determine fates.  Make note of all the characters in your novel and where they begin, go, and end.  Everyone’s fate needs to be accounted for, even if it is meant to be vague.

Once you’ve tied up loose ends and revised your story, you need to get a fresh pair of eyes.  Professional editors can help you elevate your writing, especially if you have done a lot of the basic developmental issues yourself.  Never underestimate the value of a professional who can direct you through the editing process.

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