Editing is such an important part of the novel writing process. And each chapter or scene needs to be treated with care, examined closely, and made to shine off the page. And to do so, there are some questions you need to ask yourself. Take a look…
Is there a sense of place?
There’s nothing better than reading a book so immersive you can picture every moment. While editing my own work recently, I came across a chapter that was…blank. I mean to say, the characters were there, and their conversation and inner thoughts…but that was it! Even me, the writer, who knew the location and the surroundings, could only imagine the characters surrounded by black blankness. And it sucked. So now, with each chapter, I ask myself if there is a sense of place. Will the reader know exactly where the characters are, and how their surroundings shape the story? In doing so, you should be able to pull the reader in.
Can you see the characters?
As with the above, good description is key. When your characters are in a scene, can you see them? Can the reader see them? Consider what they might be wearing, how they move, their body language, their facial expressions, their nervous habits, the spring in their step. It’s all very well the characters being present, and telling the reader they are there, but they need to be visible. They need to feel real.
Does the scene/chapter move the story forward?
Some scenes are fun to write, but serve no purpose. And therefore, you must consider whether they will be fun to read. Each chapter must move the story forward, it most progress to the next step. If your story becomes stagnant, the reader gets bored, and the story drags on. For a fast-paced read, each scene has to mean something.
I’m sure there are a tonne more questions that can be asked during editing, so share yours in the comments below.