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Why must I revise and edit my novel?

     Even writers with great talent and skill revise and edit their works. Everyone makes simple typographical mistakes and slips of grammar that a quick edit will catch. Further revision will strengthen your novel and help develop your personal style. I would recommend putting your novel away for a while after it is first written before attempting to revise. You will find it easier to be tough on yourself. As well, have interested friends read your work with the intention of recommending changes. Even though they may not be professional writers or editors themselves, they will still provide you a separate reader's perspective, which may help you make changes you might not otherwise make.

For What must I look?

     Most editing can be caught be having a few educated friends read your novel. In my experience, I did not even have to ask my friends to catch these mistakes. They mentioned spelling, punctuation and grammar errors without any prompting.
     For good revision advice, if you have not had formal writing education in college, I suggest attending a seminar on writing and style and purchasing a helpful resource. The Writer's Market contains information on associations that host conferences with writing seminars. I attended Killer Nashville, a mystery writer's convention put on by Mystery Writers of America , in August 2007 and went to the seminar on editing and revising by Chris Roerden. At her seminar, I finally started to understand what to revise in my novel, and her book, Don't Murder Your Mystery, has been a wonderful resource for me. Her suggestions span the genres, and she is a professional editor.

When will my book ever be ready?

     If you're like me, right after the first draft is done, and then never. Getting the first draft completed takes much effort and time. Even knowing that I am just trying to get my thoughts on paper, I still will do quick on-the-fly editing and revising as I write my first draft. Because of this, a part of me just wants to get the novel out there once I am done with this phase. I have learned to quell that impulse. At this point, I start letting friends read it, set it aside myself, and continue work on other novels. After enough time has passed, I take it out again to begin revising it. By this time, I have heard back from several friends and can make the editing changes they have suggested.
     I also have to stifle the feeling that my novel will never be good enough to publish. Even after submitting it to agents, I still find things I feel I should change. Many resources say to never submit your work until it is the best it can possibly be, but for me, that would mean I would never submit it. Obviously, some balance is needed. After I have gone through a few rounds of editing (and now better revising), I start putting together the query letters and synopses that will be needed for submissions. Even though I know I will find more that can change, I know that I need to get the ball rolling if I plan to ever be published.

     If you are interested in contacting Eric Manske, use the e-mail below or follow the Leave Feedback link.