re: How Do I Revise a Third Draft?

in Teen/Middle Grade Fiction by

Dear Editor…

Now I’m ready to work on the 3rd draft of my YA novel. I’ve never been here before. How do I do this? Should I start over for the 3rd time or just edit parts of it that need work? Is this still the cutting down on characters/bettering the plot time? How do you know when you’re done?

Sincerely,

Melody

Dear Melody…

Time for outside input. Get into a YA fiction critique group, sign up for a critique with an author/editor/agent at a conference, or hire a freelance editor. Fresh, knowledgeable eyes can see what you’ve become blind to. In the meantime, work out the kinks item by item. Do a pass just for characters, making sure they grow through the story; a pass for plot, ensuring that all events build upon each other to move the plot forward; a pass for dialogue, checking the flow and the balance between talking and telling; a pass for setting, giving readers enough to picture the place and characters to act on or react to; and a pass for word choice, replacing dull words with dynamic ones.

Happy writing!

The Editor

7 Comments

  1. My crit groups and beta readers are invaluable. (I start giving the ms to my crit group from the second draft and when it’s at third-draft-stage, I give it to the betas.) Of course, there’s nothing better than having a professional editor look it over. They have far more experience and know what the market wants.

  2. Do agree with this. It’s how I approach final editing. In fact, I stop counting whether it’s 3rd, 4th or 50th edit. I pass through my books so many times, I lose count. But each time, it’s with one specific goal in mind. Often I do a pass for each character as well, making sure they are consistent with who they are, there’s a story arc for each one, etc. Spelling, grammar, comma consistency, everything gets a pass through. And each time, I find something. At the very, very end, I do a final pass and try to imagine I’m a first time reader and I just bought (or downloaded) this book. What does this new reader think? If he’s happy, then I send it to a professional editor (I know a really good one!). I take those comments and start all over again with the editing process. Finally, I reach a point where I know it’s done. Then I send it around and while I’m busy getting rejected by editors, agents and publishers, I start writing the next one. Dreaming that eventually, I’ll strike gold. Or at least a shade of silver. :>)

  3. Thanks for sharing this approach. It has made me rethink some of my characters in my first YA. Just looking at one aspect of the book at a time helps you see things that need improvements.

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