Swoon Author Jenn P. Nguyen's Editing Update: Every Novel Is Different
It’s a well-known fact that I love editing. First drafts are the devil. They’re messy and unpredictable. Even if you outline the heck out of your novel, things can change drastically and spin out of control. But when you edit, you have a plan. You know what needs to be fixed and what to change. Even if you have to cut characters and rewrite scenes, you do it for a reason.
I usually make a broad list of what needs to be fixed throughout the entire novel and then break down the changes in each chapter. And with each change, things became bright and shiny until it was so polished that it glowed. So obviously when I got ready to edit Fake It Till You Break It, I figured it would be the same.
It wasn’t. Because this novel was different. I tried to make my lists, but it just didn’t work. In fact, everything got worse and confusing. I didn’t know how to fix it. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t have a plan. I was stuck.
With no other choice, I was forced to take a step back. Way back. I put the novel aside and I worked on getting to know the characters themselves. Their past. Their dreams. What makes them tick. I had to figure out who they were before I could even start to fix the novel.
Thankfully, it worked. Once I actually knew the characters, I went back and outlined the story through their eyes. Saw how they evolved and grew. And suddenly things started to make sense again. It took a lot longer to edit Fake It Till You Break It. Probably twice as long as it took to edit The Way to Game the Walk of Shame. But the end result is the same.
Don’t be afraid if things are different and nothing goes according to plan. I love the changes that forced their way through and it made itself nice and shiny. And I hope you’ll love Mia and Jake as much as I do!