When I first tell someone who isn’t a novelist that I’m doing edits for my book, they usually assume I’m doing copy edits. They think I’m doing things like fixing punctuation, sentence structure, etc. But that’s not at ALL what a first round of edits is like. (That’s actually what the last round is like). Which is why I don’t even call the first round edits anymore—I call it REWRITES.
Because yes, during my first round of edits, I usually end up rewriting a good portion of the book. Here are examples of things I’ve had to do during the first round of edits:
- Create a new character as a love interest for a main character and weave him into the storyline
- Realize that one of the main character’s storylines isn’t as exciting as it could be, and completely revamp what happens to that character throughout the book so that they have more character growth
- Make minor characters have more impact by adding them into scenes
- Completely delete scenes and replace them with something totally different
- Change the ways that characters come to certain conclusions to enhance their growth
- Add more conflict into the story by making everything harder for the characters
I’ve talked with other writers about their writing processes, and most of them also face huge rewrites during their first round of edits. If you’re a writer, what’s your first round of edits like? Do you also face tons of rewrites, or is your first draft usually relatively clean?