Diving Into Edits

So I finally, finally finished writing the rough draft of my new historical romance. Talk about forever!

But it's done and now I need to jump into edits.

Some things I'll be looking at:

Dialogue: Is it necessary to the story? Does it deepen tension or reveal something? Is it natural sounding?

Pacing: Are my scenes similar in length? Does the story grow progressively more taut or is there a sagging middle?

Historical facts: Is my research good enough? Do my characters sound like they live in 1920 America?

Scene setting: Are my scenes clear? Did I involve all five senses?

What do you look for when editing? Care to add anything to my list?


Sandra Orchard said…
I look for words that I can use when describing the setting that convey the emotion/mood of the pov character. I check for overuse of tags like He smiled. I check for chapter hooks at beginning and end of each chapter. Enjoy!
Karen Lange said…
Congrats on finishing the draft! That is exciting! :) I think your points cover things well; it's a good checklist.

Btw - I just finished your book. I enjoyed getting to know Gracie and Trevor. Loved the ending, too. Can't wait till this book is out. You'll keep us posted, right?
Jill Kemerer has a great editing checklist on her website. I go through that and similar things you listed here.

It never feels done.
~ Wendy
Julie Dao said…
Yay for you!!! That is a great list of things to keep an eye out for when editing. I try to be on the watch for too much telling and not enough showing, too.
Unknown said…
Oh yes, the five senses, definitely!

I also look for scenes that don't really contribute to the overall story...or scenes in which the POV character doesn't have a clear goal...or where there's no tension.

Happy editing!!
Linda Kage said…
Sounds like a good list to me! I need to remember to make sure I tie up loose ends when I do edits.
lol Sandra!! I KNOW I overuse those tags. I'll need to keep an eye out for that.

Karen, I'm so glad you liked it! :-) Yes, if this book gets contracted, I'm sure I'll be cyber-shouting it. LOL
Wendy, thanks for that info! I didn't know she had that.

Julie, that's definitely a good one to look out for!
Melissa, great point...

Me too, Linda. I'm a horrible plotter.
Lindsay Harrel said…
I didn't do this with my first story, but now (thanks to Melissa, hehe) I try to make sure my character has a goal for every scene. It doesn't have to be a huge goal, but something they're wanting.
Lindsay, completely agree. :-)
Julie Jarnagin said…
Congrats! I'm usually filling in holes - I tend to jump around a lot. I recently had to make some major changes to the synopsis (after writing the book). I'm currently revising to make the manuscript match the new and improved synopsis.
Yay for finishing your draft! Hopefully you enjoy the editing process just as much ;)
Anonymous said…
Congratulations on finishing your draft. You have a good check list. I have to visualize what my character is doing as I read so they are not physically moving in impossible ways.
Cindy R. Wilson said…
This is a great list. One of my goals with my current WIP is like yours, make sure I use all five senses. For some reason that's a tough one for me. I also like to make sure I'm using deep POV, because sometimes I automatically use felt and thought words.
Lacie Nezbeth said…
The idea of editing seems very daunting to me. Is it ever good enough?? :) But I love your list...taking notes!
Loree Huebner said…
Great list!

I read out loud as I edit. I listen for flow and mistakes. Reading out loud helps me catch awkward sentences and typos.
Sarah Forgrave said…
Congrats on finishing, Jessica! 1920s is one of my favorite time periods to read. :)
Lisa Jordan said…
Congrats on finishing your rough draft! To me, that's the toughest part. I'm in the middle of revisions right now, and your list is great. I always make sure my characters' goals, motivations and conflicts are clear so each scene propels the story forward.
Nancy said…
I check for obvious errors, anything that doesn't make sense, and notice if there are any boring parts. Your list is a great one for sure.
Erica Vetsch said…
Yay for edits! I'm usually on a mission to cull repetitive words and overwriting.
Ouch Julie! I know what you mean about holes...I usually have a lot of dropped threads that need cutting or developing.

Thanks Georgiana! :-)

LOL Lynn, I hear you on that!
Hey Cindy!! I think I struggle with deep pov too...it's definitely something we're always working at.

Lacie, no, it's never good enough. *grin*

Great idea, Loree!
Thanks Sarah!

Lisa, that should've been on my list too. SO important!

LOL Nancy, definitely don't want boring stuff. :-)

Good luck, Erica!
Jennifer Shirk said…
Hey, congrats!!!

Right now I'm looking at conflict and trying to make sure it is sustainable throughout the story.

Good luck!
Yay for being done! So proud of you pal. :) And you have a great checklist there. In fact, I might use it myself. Hehe
Kaite Johnston said…
I really like this list! I used it for a short story assignment in my AP English class and it really helped! So, thank you! :)
Cograts on finishing the first draft!

I look for typos, plot holes, author intrusion, telling vs. showing, and whether or not my scenes are believable.

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