By Bill Ferris
Look, I don’t want to imply there’s anything wrong with your book. I’m just saying that if your first draft was a masterpiece, your second draft will be like Wuthering Heights and The Brothers Karamazov glued together. Here’s how you can turn your hunk of clay of a first draft into the Mona Lisa.
- Buy a blue pencil. You’ll need it to write down the snacks you’ll wanna buy for your next editing session.
- Print two hard copies of the manuscript. The first is so you can make your edits on paper like God intended. The second is for years later when the Smithsonian comes asking if you have any memorabilia they could display.
- Buy books on editing. This article makes them all obsolete, of course, but they’ll look great on your bookshelf. “Ooh, this writer apparently knows a thing or two about editing!” they’ll say. “Look at all those books!”
- Trim the fat. Nobody wants to read a flabby manuscript. Take out unnecessary words, as well as all references to fried foods and soda.
- Murder your darlings. One of the most useful bits of writing advice, it’s a figure of speech that means that in your novel, you must kill a beloved pet, love interest, or small child. It’s hard, but I didn’t make the rules.
- While you’re at it, let some of your minor characters know you might bump off a few of them, too, if they don’t start adding more to the story. Do this out loud.
- Add a sword fight.
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