Editing Your Novel’s Structure: Tips, Tricks, and Checklists to Get You From Start to Finish
Before it’s time to check for commas and iron out passive voice, fiction writers need to know that their story is strong. Are your beta readers not finishing? Do they have multiple, conflicting complaints? When you ask them questions about how they experience your story, do they give lukewarm responses? Or have you not even asked anyone to read your story, wondering if it’s ready?
If any of the above is true, you may need to refine the structure of your story. What is structure you ask? Structure is what holds a story together. Does the character arc entrance the reader? Is the world building comprehensive and believable? These questions and more have to be answered by all of us as we turn our drafts into books.
In this concise handbook, complete with checklists for each section, let a veteran writer walk you through the process of self-assessing your novel, from characters to pacing with lots of compassion and a dash of humor. In easy to follow directions and using adaptable strategies, she shows you how to check yourself for plot holes, settle timeline confusion, and snap character arcs into place.
Use this handbook for quick help and quick self-editing checklists on:
– Characters and Character Arcs.
– Point of View.
– A detailed explanation of nearly free self-editing tools and how to apply them to your book to find your own structural problems.
– Beginnings and Ends.
– Editing for sensitive and specialized subject matter.
– Helpful tips on choosing beta readers, when to seek an editor, and a sample questionnaire to give to your first readers.
Grab your copy of Edit Your Novel’s Structure today! Now is the time to finish that draft and get your story out into the world.
I’m going to come straight out and say this – I HATE self-editing. Responding to other peoples’ feedback, I love, but actually going through my own work and reworking has always been my least favourite part of the process. I was keen then, to read this book, and see if it had any tips to make this less painful for me. In short, it really does!
As a reader, I got through this book pretty quickly, but throughout each section, my writer’s brain was responding to the questions the author sets, and applying her well-presented examples and arguments to my own situations. The book goes through each point of a structural edit in turn (including defining what a structural edit is, and is not), and presents this clearly, concisely, and in a very readable manner. There are examples from well-known books and films, rather than obscure references that not many readers may have heard of, which really helps too.
Currently, I am at the end of the first draft of my work-in-progress, which I know for certain has weak points. Having read through this once, I’m definitely looking forward to going back through it at a much slower pace, with my WIP open in front of me, and notebook beside me, so I can make notes of what needs to be expanded, changed, and improved, thanks to her suggestions.
One of the things the author notes is that if you can afford it, paying for a decent edit of your work is a huge benefit to your writing. If you’re not there yet though, or cannot afford such an expense, this book will certainly take you part-way along the path.
I would also go further than the blurb on this. In the description above, the author gives scenarios at which this book would be useful. I’d say that even if you’re only at the start of your writing, with your story a slight idea fizzing away in your brain, this would be a useful read, especially if, like me, you’re a planner. Having her questions and suggestions in mind will help you create a more rounded first draft, and hopefully reduce the need to fix any problems at a later stage. Definitely a good thing in mind!
Bethany Tucker is an author and editor located near Seattle, U.S.A. Story has always been a part of her life. With over twenty years of writing and teaching experience, she’s more than ready to take your hand and pull back the curtain on writing craft and mindset. Last year she edited over a million words for aspiring authors. Her YA fantasy series Adelaide is published wide under the pen name Mustang Rabbit and her dark epic fantasy is releasing in 2021 under Ciara Darren. You can find more about her services for authors at TheArtandScienceofWords.com.