Editing Your Story

Once you have your first draft, you then need to edit.


Editing takes several stages before you get your finished story, and the process often takes a lot longer than it does to write your first draft. Usually, at the start of editing, you don't concern yourself with spelling or grammar until later in the edit, although correct any glaring errors as you spot them but do not lose sight of what editing stage you are doing. Log what stages you have already done, so when you pick up an editing session you know what you gave covered and what stage you are on.


What I usually do:

Stage 1: READER

Go through the whole text from the beginning and look at it from the reader's point of view. The first couple of pages (or paragraphs in a short story) are vital, because if the reader is disappointed at the start they may switch off and never read your story as a whole. The opening must draw your reader in, become engaged in the story and prepared to read on.


Ask yourself a couple of questions:


"Have I started the story at the best place?" If this is a kidnap/hostage story, it might start with the hostage being taken, or waking up in a makeshift cell, or with the receipt of a ransom note. The backstory, who the characters are and their relationships can then follow once the reader has been hooked.


"Have I set the scene?" Does the reader know the time and place, is the season or the social-economic environment important to the story?


The second thing to look for is the flow of the story, are the flashbacks cleared delineated, are they too long, or are they too short and confusing? Are there scenes missing or unnecessary scenes? Note what you discover, reinforce if necessary.




Start at the beginning and check where all the characters are in each scene, are the transitions between scenes confusing? Do you want to build suspense by switching scenes at dramatic points, or do you want to introduce calming measures to catch up on what other characters are doing?




Ensure you are aware whatever tense and person you are writing in. The tenses are: past, present and future and each ten...

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Tony Spencer
May 19 2022

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