How often do you edit your manuscript?

There was a time not so long ago when it seemed I was editing my manuscript every five minutes. I mean, I was so relentless in my pursuit to write the ‘perfect’ novel, (whatever that is), that the novel wasn’t getting written. And then I read Stephen King’s On Writing. Amazing book, by the way, and if it’s not in your library, get it.

In the book, King makes some valid points, one of which was to allow yourself time to write. Write your book or whatever you’re writing all the way through before you edit. Get it all out there. Write like you’ve never written before. Write with passion and worry about the rest later.

I said to myself, What do I have to lose?, so I followed his advice. 3 months later I put those incredible words – The End – to my manuscript. Wow! What an amazing feeling to say, My novel is done!

I am on my ‘final’ edits right now and they are moving along well. I have found a critique partner who will, hopefully, point out the remaining few things still left unattended, and then off it goes to 3 targeted agents. After all, we must polish, polish, polish before sending the manuscript out into the universe. I’ll talk about that in another post.

So, with all that said, how often do you edit your manuscript? Every chapter? 10,000 words? Or do you hold off until you have the first draft?


2 thoughts on “How often do you edit your manuscript?

  1. Thomas Edison tried a gazillion times to make the light bulb and failed. With each failure, he didn’t learn how NOT to make a lightbulb, but rather learned HOW to make a lightbulb. The same thing with writing.

    With each draft, with each manuscript, we continue to learn and understand the do’s and don’ts of the art. Eventually, we all end up writing our novel or story and are made stronger by all the trials and tribulations.
    I am thrilled to take the journey with you and your writing and I can’t wait to read the end result.


  2. I read the same editing advice from Simon Hayes (author of the Hal Spacejock novels)on his website, and I really do try to stick to it; but sometimes as I’m writing I encounter a fatal flaw in the structure and in order for me to write forward I first have to ‘fix’ what came before so I can know the foundation I’m building upon. I can write out of sequence as long as I have fixed starting and end points, but without those two being clear in my mind I can’t, especially the beginning. I’ve edited the start of my novel countless times, and it’s still ‘in flux’, but I’m getting ever closer to having it right. Or, ‘right enough’, at least.

    This being my first novel I’m learning a lot more ‘don’ts’ than ‘dos’; but those are pretty important, too.


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