Last Updated: April 2018
A lot of ink has been spilled discussing the editing process. I’ll lay out my method for preparing a first draft to be sent to an editor, but my advice won’t be exhaustive, so if you seek additional tips, you’ll find a lot skimming the search results for “edit” at the Writer’s Knowledge Base.
Preparing a Draft for an Editor
First, let me say that you won’t have a first, second, third, and final draft. You’ll have anywhere from ten to a hundred drafts—maybe more if it’s a particularly complex story. For some authors, the first draft contains only the bare bones of their story, and subsequent drafts are when they put in the real meat. These authors take notes as they write of plot holes they created that they must fix, of events they must foreshadow, of character traits they must bring out in greater clarity. They take perfunctory dialogue and revise it for realism and greater emotional depth. They analyze scenes for whether they service either plot or character, and toss or revise as needed. They flesh out descriptions, revise awkward paragraphs or sentences, and make note of any words they tend to overuse.