Big edits are not as straight-forward or easy to correct. You still have to do them, though. Let’s start with those that most affect the beginning of your novel.
Think about your Point of View. Should it be first person or third? Sometimes you start your manuscript and you know it has to be told from the 1st person POV (or the 3rd person POV), then half way in, you feel it’s not working so well, but you’ve already written so many pages that you soldier through. If it’s not working for you, the writer who loves the manuscript, it’s not going to work for the reader. Do the work and change it. If you or a trusted reader has trouble with the POV, seriously think about making the change.
Let’s talk about slow beginnings. Long ago, books started slowly, describing the scenery or the weather. Nothing happened for fifty pages. Not so anymore. Things happen in the first chapter, the first page, the first paragraph, even the first sentence. Not in all books, mind you, but in a lot, especially genre books like mystery, suspense, action-adventure, romance, sci fi/fantasy, and others.
Another thing that can slow down the beginning is back story. Cut it, cut it, cut it. Weave it in throughout the book, if you really need it. Try to show it through dialogue or action. Don’t drag down the beginning of the book by telling the reader what happened before the story even starts.
Next time, we continue our look at the Big Edits of your book. In Part 2, we tackle pace, narrative and dialogue. Part 3 goes into plot and conflict. Be sure to drop by with questions, comments, and suggestions.
Helen Ginger is an author, blogger, Coordinator of Story Circle Network's Editorial Services and Chair of the Texas Book Festival Author Escorts. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops. You can follow Helen on Twitter or connect with her on Facebook and LinkedIn. Helen is the author of the novels Dismembering the Past and Angel Sometimes, three books in TSTC Publishing’s TechCareers series, and two of her short stories can be found in the anthology, The Corner Cafe.