Writing a novel is the easy part!

I’ve recently started revising Chemicals Collide. I have my first draft out with multiple beta-readers (thanks to everyone who volunteered to read it) and am awaiting feedback.

The editing process always makes me realised how easy writing a novel is. I don’t know if anyone else feels this way, but brainstorming, writing the actual novel, and getting the words down is the easy part! It’s taking those words and polishing them until they shine that is hard. It’s finding an agent who loves them as much as you do that is hard.

Editing is hard work. What is that saying? Write drunk and edit sober. It sounds right. Revising is time consuming and subjective.

What are your thoughts on editing? Do you have a particular process? I like to finish a draft, do a read through to make sure all my writing is okay, and then send it out into the world for feedback. What is your process?

About Jodie @ Words Read & Written

Book blogger & aspiring author.
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64 Responses to Writing a novel is the easy part!

  1. I love editing. I read aloud, because how it sounds is how other people will perceive it. I try to tighten up language, but I’m willing to add more detail if it needs it. Usually I’m in such a hurry to get the words down that I spend more time on the latter, but I think a short, forceful piece is better than one that rambles.

    Above the nuts and bolts, I have two things I look for: what works, and what needs work. All bets are off when it comes to making it a better story. As Stephen King said, “Kill your darlings” if it makes your story better. Rearrange chapters, take out your favorite scenes, whatever it takes.

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  2. Jon Chaisson says:

    I can’t say I *love* editing, but I’ve come to appreciate it. My revision runs are legion–there’s the simple grammar-and-spelling, the ‘seen as a whole’ read-through (with annotations for future fixing), the ‘what the hell was I thinking here’ rewriting…I go through my work multiple times before it feels right. I’ve come to think of it partly as getting it to a point where I feel confident enough that the seams aren’t showing. 😉

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  3. brainsnorts says:

    i don’t recommend doing either drunk. writing or editing or revising drunk will leave you with a mash of words that make little sense. if you want to do anything drunk – i recommend sex.

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  4. kataar says:

    I actually find that trying to write drunk, or even tipsy, usually makes my mind go blank… Writing sober, or better yet, writer while under the influence of coffee or tea help spark my creativity 😉 Once I finish a novel, I usually let it sit for at least a couple of weeks. Then I read through it on my computer once and make corrections as I go, and then print out a hard copy and read through it a second time. This second time, the hard copy, is for some reason where I find the most items I need to change, but is also the read-through I enjoy the most.

    The novel I’m working on now, I just finished the hard copy proofread and it is filled to the brim with red ink!!! The part I like the least is taking that red ink and putting those changes into the electronic copy, it is such a tedious process.

    I like your article here, I’d like to link back to this one when I write my own blog article about my writing and proofreading process 🙂

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  5. Widdershins says:

    Getting started is the hardest part for me … closely followed by editing.

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  6. That Hemmingway quote has got to be one of my all time favorites. But I think you have to really love your work, or be in love with the idea of making it shine. If I’m not some how crushing on the manuscript I’m working on, I’ll never drum up the energy for the years of likely work it will take to see the light of day in print.

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  7. HemmingPlay says:

    I have the opposite problem: Getting started. Getting the words down. Overcoming resistance in the first place. These are the hard parts for me. Editing and rewriting is almost fun by comparison. And I rewrite a lot: 6-7 times is about average. That’s where the work really starts to emerge. I don’t know why the ‘getting started’ part is so difficult. But maybe I should just “write drunk”. 🙂

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  8. Smudgey Paw says:

    I just finished writing my first novel a few weeks ago so I’m new to everything, but I agree – writing is the easy part! After finishing I took a break for a couple of days and jumped into editing with no plan. That was my first mistake. I got a few chapters in before deciding to write down some goals. I made a list of all the things I wanted to look for while going through my first round of edits and as I’ve been editing I’ve been taking notes on character or plot questions that should be answered later in the book. Not sure if this is right, but I’m definitely feeling more confident about it than my first editing attempt. 🙂

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  9. Writing & Editing is a real difficult proposition for anyone to handle both the task. Writer should give the editing task to somebody who is independent of the writing piece. Otherwise it germinates prejudices and perfection gets overlooked…Editing is a tough task.

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  10. I like to just walk away from my book for a few days and do something that I find fun but totally unrelated to the editing process. My favorite thing to do is go hiking and just enjoy nature!

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