I’m currently in the middle of doing my first round of edits for Diamonds are Forever, the final book in The Secret Diamond Sisters series, and thought I would share with you what first round of edits are about.
When I first tell someone who isn’t a novelist that I’m doing edits for my book, they usually assume I’m doing copy edits. They think I’m doing things like fixing punctuation, sentence structure, etc. But that’s not at ALL what a first round of edits is like. (That’s actually what the last round is like). Which is why I don’t even call the first round edits anymore—I call it REWRITES.
Because yes, during my first round of edits, I usually end up rewriting a good portion of the book. Here are examples of things I’ve had to do during the first round of edits:
- Create a new character as a love interest for a main character and weave him into the storyline
- Realize that one of the main character’s storylines isn’t as exciting as it could be, and completely revamp what happens to that character throughout the book so that they have more character growth
- Make minor characters have more impact by adding them into scenes
- Completely delete scenes and replace them with something totally different
- Change the ways that characters come to certain conclusions to enhance their growth
- Add more conflict into the story by making everything harder for the characters
This is just a small example of ways I’ve had to rewrite my books! My editor for The Secret Diamond Sisters, Natashya Wilson, is absolutely incredible at figuring out what needs to be done to a book to make it the best that it can be, and once I apply her advice, I’m always so proud of how far the book comes along. By the time a book has gone from first draft to final version, there’s usually not one sentence that has gone untouched. The crazy part is that when it comes to plotting my books, I’m extremely organized. I create detailed outlines of the books ahead of time, to make sure that every scene has a purpose and that I know where I’m heading in the story. I can’t imagine what the editing process is like for a writer who doesn’t outline books ahead of time!
I’ve talked with other writers about their writing processes, and most of them also face huge rewrites during their first round of edits. If you’re a writer, what’s your first round of edits like? Do you also face tons of rewrites, or is your first draft usually relatively clean?