Seven Ways to Revise Your First Draft In The Second Round of Edits

The honest truth for my absent posts is: I’ve been writing. I have been writing a lot more than usual. There are some moments in life when you know, the amount of effort of what you are putting in isn’t enough. The effort isn’t enough to finish writing that book. I had some serious thoughts on how I could change my routine to set me up for success.

I stumble upon a Twitter account, 5amWritersClub and my problems were solved. I wake up every morning at six o’clock and I thought I’d give it a try. Wake up an hour earlier and write. At first it was hard to get in the rhythm and the gears slowly moved but the more I woke up at that time, the easier it and now my writing goals are coming within reach, closer than I anticipated. My absence from my blog is from 5amWritersClub igniting the idea and writing when the world is silent and asleep.

That is where I have been but hopefully, things should stay on track and the first draft should be finished soon.

I will continue posting writing tips but committ myself to only one post a week.


You finished writing the first draft of your novel but you aren’t finished. Now comes the best part. Revisions. The good news and the bad news: it takes longer, much longer than you might think, to revise your novel and make your book wonderful.

Below are ‘Seven Ways to Revise Your First Draft In The Second Round of Edits’

1. Hide and Read.

Put your draft away for at least a week. Try to do something else that stimulates the mind and inspires you. That’s my chance to catch up on my to-read list but as long as you take a break from your novel.

2. Read as someone else

After the break, dive back into it. But here’s the key. Read it as if you didn’t write it. Your goal is to help the writer be fabulous. Once you see your draft from a different perspective you’ll see the plot holes, the repetition, stilted dialogue, scenes without any action, and the pages without conflict.

Tackle each scene and fix those.

3. Prune Out Crutch and Lazy Words

“Was.” “Just.” “Suddenly.” “That.” The excessive description. The repetition. The characters with no motivation. The coincidences. The wordiness and the repetition.

Find your default words: how often did you write “of course”? Or “really”? Or “very”? We all have our favorites. And they all have to go. In one manuscript, I discovered I used ‘through’ and ‘squinted’.

4. Follow one trail

Make a character profile as you edit your draft. With each protagonist, follow them and interrogate their behaviors, motivations and even down to their appearance. You need to keep it consistent and most of all, motivations and goals should feel natural of the character.

5. Check for action

Are there scenes where nothing happens? Make sure every scene advances the story or character. A page-turning novel is character conflict and action, right? So—be careful with information dumps. I posted a blog a while ago, discussing how to avoid the info dumps. Here.

6. Check for setting

Are there scenes without cinematic setting? If your book were a movie, would it be interesting? How can you amp up the mind pictures to make your book as visual as possible?

7. What is Your Statement?

Hook. Stakes. Beautiful writing. Do you have that on every page?

When you revise your novel, you’re not finding mistakes or proof you’re a terrible writer. Every time you discover an error or tighten a sentence or pick a stronger verb—you win.

Revisions are when the magic happens.

In the next post, I will discuss what to do in the Third Round of Edits of your draft.

If you have any questions or ideas, make sure you post your comments or/ and answers below. If you think someone has an interesting point of view, a question or an answer, please invite them or share this post with them.


#DouglasWTSmith #firstdraft


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