Editing your novel can be exciting if you think about it as taking the journey with your characters a second time.
Changing your mindset when you approach editing can make it fun, instead of tedious.
While you add, remove, and move things, you are creating a somewhat different journey for your characters, and that leads to not just a sharper story, but a more enjoyable read for you and your audience.
1. Adding and removing subplots
This is where you have the opportunity to make your story more interesting for your reader. You can increase the number of messages to your readers or hone the main one by removing nonessential subplots.
Subplots are great to add depth and give your readers even more to think about.
You get to write new side adventures and possibly new characters! How exciting!!!
These additions alter the journey, and you get to see and enjoy a more complex novel.
Removing subplots is harder.
I’ll admit, I hate suggesting this to any author, but sometimes it’s necessary.
Your subplots should support the main plot, tie into it in some way. If they stray too far from it, you and your reader might feel the story is meandering rather than moving forward.
2. Backstory and setting descriptions
This is a bit trickier but think of your reader's enjoyment!
Decreasing large chunks of backstory and setting description increases reader engagement. While you don’t want to confuse your reader by not having enough, you also want to leave them with some questions, so they keep reading.
Maybe think of this way.
Would you rather be in a downpour or in a light sprinkle? You seek shelter from a downpour but can walk just fine in a sprinkle.
The reader may be tempted to seek shelter by skipping long descriptions. But you want them to walk, right?
After your amazing hook, providing only one to three sentences of setting or backstory, before an action works best for most fiction novels. (There isn’t a rule about this, sometimes it’s genre specific.)
Having other characters reveal the main character’s backstory through dialogue is an option. But again, mix it up with some action.
Would you want to sit around a campfire with new friends and share entire life stories, or would you rather be roaming the forest and talking with your friends while you gather wood or hunt for food?
Which is more exciting?
3. Enhancing Dialogue
When diving into a line edit, you will probably change dialogue to feel more realistic.
Removing dialogue tags and replacing them with action beats creates variety and realism. And a more exciting story!
How many people do you know who don’t move when they talk?
Some talk with their hands, or shift around, or lean forward when listening or making a larger point. They lean back when they're done talking or not listening.
Maybe they rub their face when they are frustrated with a topic.
When revising, you can also make action beats character specific!
Habits add to character believability, relatability, and helps reveal personality traits.
Maybe only one character bites their lip, showing indecisiveness, hesitation, or timidness.
Another cracks their knuckles, which may show they are a take-action kind of character or a fighter. (Cracking knuckles could also be a nervous habit.)
Writing a story is fun, but editing can be exciting too ...
if you change your mindset by choosing to see it as an opportunity to improve your story and make it more enjoyable for your readers.
I hope you enjoyed this post.
If you have questions about how to get excited about editing your novel or are stuck with knowing what to add or take out, contact me. I'd be happy to talk to you.
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