If you follow me on Twitter (which you should), you may know that I recently finished the fourth draft of my current WIP, How to Hug a Grizzly. 

I originally wrote this book during NaNoWriMo in 2014 (I was in year 11/12 at the time) and so it’s been a while. But I really, really love this story and I thought you guys might like to know how I edit things??? A lot of people have asked me on Twitter and Instagram, and you know, I have to listen to the fans 😉

I’d have to say that this ball of fluff is the biggest obstacle when I’m writing. 

Mostly because she won’t actually move, and everyone knows you’re not allowed to move a cat when they’re on you. But in all seriousness, this is how I edit a book. 

 1. If it’s a second draft, I rewrite almost the entire thing.

This is on account of the fact that mostly I write my first drafts for NaNoWriMo. I’m writing very quickly, not worrying about creating a coherent story, mainly just pounding out SOMETHING that will tell me where the story should go. 

When I’m writing the second draft, I highlight all of the first draft, turn the text red, and rework it (turning it red is an idea from Cait, by the way). This involves: 

1) Writing a new scene list,

2) Writing down the main problems I see with it and

3) Writing down key information that I’m going to forget because my memory is a sieve

 2. When I’ve rewritten the draft, my next step is to send it off to my first round of beta readers/CPs (critique partners).

While I anxiously wait for their feedback, I usually work on another project, because God knows I have a million first drafts lying around, and another gazillion ideas in my head wanting to be written. 

When I get feedback from my wonderful CPs, I then edit in several stages. 

 3. My first stage of the next draft is to go through and fix the really simple things. 

This can include things like grammar and spelling, little details that are inconsistent, things that need to be cut, etc. From there I go on to content edits. 

 4. Time for more lists! I write a revised scene order, outline the problems I want to fix and how to fix them, and a list of scenes that I’d like to incorporate into this draft. 

By the way, I used to use Scrivener for all of this. But then I switched over to my Mac and haven’t had time to buy another licence, so I guess I’ll just wait until I do NaNoWriMo this year, because I think you still get it half price. 

Anyway, the third draft is where a lot of it comes together. The scenes are mostly in the right order. I’ve addressed the feedback of my CPs. The characters are much more fleshed out, the pacing’s a lot better and it’s a lot more coherent. But it’s still not finished. 

 5. By now, most of the large-scale structure is taken care of. 

I know the story I want to tell. I know the plot points to get there. But obviously as the author, I lack distance. So now it’s time for more CPs/betas. With Grizzly, I’m calling this the fourth draft because I went over it twice with different kinds of edits. 

Right now, I’m sending off Grizzly to be read by a few amazing people. I think it’s important to have a mixture of writers and readers to critique your work, because then you’re getting different kinds of feedback. What works from a technical standpoint, and what works from one of entertainment. 

A lot of people have asked me how I stay focused or committed to a writing project.

My simple answer is that you have to love it. You have to really, really love it, or you’re never going to have the motivation that it takes to go through several edits, querying, rejection and criticism. Being a writer is not for everyone. But I don’t think that I could give up if I wanted to at this point. 

So there you go! That’s a bit about my editing process. It’s taken two and a half years to get to this point with Grizzly. Let’s hope that one day it’s a Real Life Book.