Go Teen Writers: Edit Your Novel

When you’re done with NaNoWriMo, you’re faced with the hardest but I think most rewarding part of writing–editing. This phase can make you want to tear your hair out or tear your manuscript up, but it will add magic to your prose if you stick to it. Go Teen Writers: Edit Your Novel by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson provides all kinds of help through this crucial process.

Edit Your Novel is an inaccurate title because the books covers so much more than that. A little over half of the book concerns editing, both macro and micro. Don’t know what those words mean? Get the book because it will explain that macro- editing is revising the big issues, such as character development and theme. Micro-editing is all the tiny things that need taken care of, like knowing when to insert or remove commas.

One of the most helpful sections under micro-editing is the chapter on punctuation. Author Jill Williamson sets out the rules from how to punctuate dialogue to how to correctly type and use en-dashes and em-dashes. I would have loved to have had this handy guide earlier in my career

The other half of the book provides all kinds of advice on how to get published with chapters on how traditional publishing works, how to write a synopsis and a query, find a literary agent, and deal with rejection.

The extra chapters at the end are the kind of bonus material I love. There’s self-editing checklist, brainstorming ideas, and the authors’s list of weasel words and phrases, which are words and phrases each author falls into the habit of using over and over again in their first draft. “Just” is a particular weasel word of mine. When I edit, I have to find them and retain only the ones that actually serve a purpose.

For those of us who’ve found so much help in Go Teen Writers: Edit Your Novel or on the Go Teen Writer’s website, there’s good news. Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel is coming out December 3! Be sure to pre-order a copy.

What books on editing do you recommend?

Writing Tip — Writing in Time

novemberDuring November in the U.S., Thanksgiving dominates everyone’s thoughts. The entire month revolves around plans for traveling or hosting or if and when you can get off work to attend a holiday dinner.

Thanksgiving Story Ideas — Comic or Dramatic

Because Thanksgiving is such an important holiday and involves family, it is ideal for inspiration. I find my greatest inspiration when creating families and letting the relationships play off each other.

Below are some ideas which can be used to for either comic or dramatic effect

  • Bad weather — The main character is the host and people can’t make his or her dinner. Or main character is traveling and is stranded on the way to dinner.
  • New relative — The first holiday dinner with a someone’s new spouse. Or a long-lost relative shows up unexpectedly.
  • Kitchen disasters — Anything that throws a wrench in the cook’s plans. Although this happens in A Christmas Storythe attack of the neighbors’ dogs on the holiday turkey is the perfect kitchen disaster.
  • Unusual main character — Write from the POV of a child, who listens in on adult conversations. Or maybe a family pet.
Other November Activities
  • Football — High school football heads to the playoffs and championships in November, so it’s the perfect month to end a story set in this sport.
  • NaNoWriMo National Novel Writing Month. This nonprofit group encourages writers to finish a 50,000 word novel in a month. Personally, November is a terrible time to get a lot of writing accomplished because of the 800 lb. gorilla at the end of the month, Thanksgiving. But that does give me an idea … a writer trying desperately to finish her novel while planning an enormous Thanksgiving dinner for her extended family.
  • Hunting Season — Hunting season is in full swing in my state and surrounding ones. With November’s short hours of daylight and wild weather, it offers a lot of potential for a story pitting a lost or injured hunter against the elements. Or if you’d like a comic take on this scenario, read Patrick F. McManus’s short story collections.

How would you use November as a setting?

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