I’ve been editing the first few chapters of my young adult novel. It’s amazing to me how many things that I can find to change and rearrange. But all that meddling is good (within reason). My first draft was just that, a draft.

I write my drafts with my head down, with little thought to how the sentences read, I give more thought to the ideas I want to get down on paper. Often I will use parenthesis surrounding a question mark or surrounding a word that encompasses my thought, without really finishing out the sentence, and then keep writing.

For example I might write, Sandy set her (?) on the bench before she pushed Cameron in the back. Or, it was (extremely hot, smoldering, show this somehow) inside the subway station. Ben scanned the kitchen then (get character to basement here). Often I’m in a hurry, I have an idea and don’t want to loose my train of thought, so I don’t take time to find the right word or sentence, I move on. This means I have a lot of extra work to do when I move to editing.

I write and rewrite and rewrite again. And after that I read out loud and then start over. Editing can be a long and often a frustrating process (maybe longer for me than it is for others), but when you make yourself stay with it, when you get a sentence, a paragraph, or heaven forbid an entire chapter to come together, boy is it worth it.

Keep on writing!

WRITING PROMPT 1: Take a piece that you’ve been working on, or a chapter, or a paragraph, and read it out loud. What sticks out? What changes might you make?

WRITING PROMPT 2: Open to a blank page. Close your eyes. Breathe. Now open your eyes and write. Do not think. Do not stop. Do not judge. Just write. (If you find something you like, go back later, and start meddling.)