Many experienced authors will tell you that the first drafts of their novels are only the starting point of the writing process. In fact, many will say that their first attempts to tell a story fall short of their expectations. It is during the editing and revision stages that the good stuff begins to emerge, and often new ideas will blossom after the “bones” of the story are long down on the page.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking a book is complete once the first words have been written. We see many authors who finish the initial writing and immediately begin to seek representation and a book contract, when in fact they should sit back and let the book gel for a while and then revisit the manuscript with somewhat fresher eyes. Give yourself the perspective of some time and distance from the book, open your mind to possibilities, and ask yourself if the book is truly ready. Is the conflict in the book fully realized? Are characters fully developed? Is there a strong hook in the opening and a satisfying resolution in the ending? Is there a twist you could add to make the book more surprising?
While revisiting and revising your book, read great novels and study the craft of writing. Join a writer’s critique group or hire a professional editor to help you make the most of revision.
Ana Howard specializes in children’s, young adult and adult literature.