As everyone has a different writing style, there is a different editing plan for each writer.
I know of editing plans that call for only one edit- tackling everything at once and getting the revisions out of the way. Others prefer to do multiple drafts, rewriting their stories or novels each time. There are writers who prefer multiple rounds of beta-readers while others prefer to save sharing their work until it is polished.
When I completed my 2014 NaNoWriMo novel in November I thought about how I would edit and revise my manuscript. I am not a ‘once and done’ kind of person. I know I need multiple drafts to ensure my writing is the best it can be.
I broke my editing/revision plan into four steps or drafts.
Step 1: Copy Edit
First drafts are supposed to be a mess. They are supposed to suck. I love the freedom of writing first drafts, but when it comes time to edit those spelling mistakes irk me. Before I can go through hunting for plot holes, inconsistency’s and character development I have to first copy edit. I go over everything with a fine tooth comb, attack spelling errors and major grammatical or structural issues that impede flow and cause my eye to twitch. I edit for ‘junk’ language such as: very, really, maybe, just, sometimes. I slash and hack at adverbs and overused adjectives, sacrifice and amend dialogue tags; everything that slows the reading down.
Step 2: Edit for Content
Once my section is clear of major flow issues I print it. Using a colour code I highlight sections where I broke the "show don't tell" rule, add or remove description as needed, deal with plot holes or pick-ups (additional scenes). I consider characterization, flesh out underdeveloped characters, and make sure everyone is acting according to their personality and along a proper arc. I rewrite the novel section by section. When I completed the whole novel I share my work with an alpha-reader: someone close who can act as cheerleader and objective critic. I take their feedback and apply it to my novel.
Step 3: Contextual Edit
After having a set of eyes on it that are not my own I consider the issues the alpha-reader highlighted. I look at the whole novel. I consider what the purpose of my novel is and if I achieved that. If not, why? Do the emotional scenes hit the mark or fall flat? Is foreshadowing effective- too much, too little? I adjust scenes as needed and copy edit again to pick up any last minute errors that might have occurred in revision.
Step 4: Beta Reading and Final Revisions
I send it off for more through beta-reading, by people who will show me no mercy; slash and cut and make me cry. When I get it back I put on my big girl pants and revise again as needed.
Then, hopefully, it will be done and ready to go off to a professional editor. Where I am sure more crying will ensure.
hat does your editing plan look like? Are you a 'once and done' or multiple draft kind of person?