Focus, Focus

It's the last Monday of January, and it's looking warm (relatively speaking, I assure you, since it's only in the 30s). Western NY managed to bypass the major snowstorm that many of my family and friends faced. It was interesting to see all the photographs from PA to North Carolina.

Galway, Ireland, 2007
It's been two months since NaNoWriMo ended, and now it's time to start editing (if you haven't been editing already). Now, granted, for some of us (myself included), we're still writing. That's all right as well. Others are finished, and may have had time to let the story simmer.

There are several ways to edit. Most authors tend to focus first on the big picture (theme, characters, scenes). Secondly, they focus on minor details such as word choices, sentence structures and punctuation.

During my first read-through, I tend to focus on both. Before I print, I do the standard spellcheck, but then later as I read, I often catch errors. At the same time, I focus on the larger picture - slow spots in the story, places needing more description, and areas of confusion. At this point I'm also focusing on character names, descriptions and other elements which may have changed over the course of the book.

After I finish that editing stage, I might have to rework the stage several times depending on how many changes, additions and moving chapters I made. Once I'm satisfied, I have one last edit on the minor details before giving the book to someone else for a read-through.

I recommend having someone else read your story, especially if you plan to submit it anywhere. Make certain it's someone you trust and someone who will give you the full truth about the book. For me, this person tends to be my mom. She can correct my grammar, but at the same time is willing to tell me when something doesn't make sense or something feels out of place.

At this point, I would say it's time to submit your novel to publishers or agents. If you choose to self-publish there are a few steps there as well. Either way, there comes a point in which you need to submit your novel, otherwise you'll keep fiddling with it. The world may or may not need your novel, but there is someone out there who will be touched by it.

Just keep at it.

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