Watched How I Edit a First Draft

Watched How To Edit A Rough Draft || My Editing Process from YouTube

You finished a rough draft: Now what?? I know so many of us struggle with how to take our first draft from where it is now to where we want it to be.

  1. Braindump of ideas as soon as she finishes draft — what’s still in your head?
  2. What’s the overarching story question that’ll be answered?
  3. Zeroes in on POV character arc now that she knows the characters better
    • where is the character at the beginning?
    • mirror moment: midpoint recognition that they’re resisting change
    • who does this character need to be at the end?
  4. Looks at turning points / bones of the story:
    • ACT ONE
      • Opening scene/ hook
      • Key event — locks your character into the story
      • Meet the antagonist/ learn the mystery
      • Meet cute
    • ACT TWO part 1
      • Into the new world
      • Pinch point
      • Midpoint
    • ACT TWO part 2
      • Reaction to midpoint
      • Second pinch point
      • Second doorway — catapults into third act
      • All is lost
      • Climax / profession of love
      • Resolution
  5. Checks scene by scene:
    • does the progression from scene to scene work?
    • Are there plot holes that need filling?
    • Is the scene needed?
    • Does this scene support character arc, theme, plot?
  6. Makes scene index cards: character goal, outcome
  7. Fills in the holes, rewrite and write new scenes — she likes to fill in holes first rather than going through the whole book from the start
  8. THEN attacks sentence by sentence edits, amplifies what’s already good — here she goes from start to finish — some people do multiple passes of whole book with different targets, she does multiple passes chapter by chapter
  9. Listens through text to speech or naturalreaders
  10. Beta readers — she has them all comment on the same draft
  11. Copy editor / line editor — find inconsistencies and pacing issues
  12. One Final Read! She doesn’t like to let it sit for too long, maybe a week, trying to experience as a reader (tries to read in one sitting)
  13. Proofreader
Art and Design

Editing photos in Affinity Photo

Watched Affinity Photo tutorial – Kodachrome Vintage from YouTube

The vintage analogue look is massively in vogue right now, and it’s simple to re-create the look and feel of a classic emulsion such as Kodachrome by using the handy toolset that can be found in Affinity Photo.

Admired the colors on a shot by Maique and he told me it was a Kodachrome filter 👀


  • Gradient map – with complementary colors
  • Curves – I rarely use the color channels and just adjust contrast, but maybe should play around with it
  • Selective color – reminds me of what you can do with the color tools in the raw editor

Make a punch list of edits

Liked the punch list by David MoldawerDavid Moldawer (The Maven Game)

Revising a book is like decorating a living room through its keyhole. “Move the couch five feet to the left. No, wait a second, now it’s blocking the fireplace. Since when has this room had a fireplace?”

Creating a manuscript punch list forces you to think through all the changes and how they relate to each other before you make a single change.

I add TK in the text where I know I have something to return and do, but sometimes it’s “insert name of planet once you get around to picking one” and sometimes it’s “write fight scene” 😳🤣 I like the idea of compiling it all into one big list.


Developmental edits on your own work

Bookmarked Self Editing Tips: Development edits (KJ Charles)

So here are some ways you can start to whip your MS into shape. (Again: this is not a substitute for a professional edit.)

Outreach Resources and Reference Writing

Inclusive language reference guides

Conscious Style Guide

CSU Diversity/ Inclusivity Style Guide

Radical Copyeditor


See also: Disability language best practices

Art and Design

A process for *selecting* rather than culling

Liked A Better Edit Makes Better Photographs by DavidDavid (

My own edit process goes much more quickly because I’m not looking for every single image that meets some basic minimal technical standard. I’m looking for the ones that make me lean in. The ones that make my heart sing. The ones that grab me and won’t let me not select them.

You might have a great reason for rating images, but I think trying to decide whether an image deserves 2, 3, or 4 stars slows the process. Because I’m looking for a few frames that are a decisive “Yes!”, I’ve found rating them makes me look for the wrong thing.

I appreciate hearing about other creative people’s processes and approaches. A lot of these things, we kind of figure out on our own, but others may have developed more effective methods to do the same thing.

I totally am a “delete the bad stuff” editor, with my first round of edits simply clearing out the out of focus or poorly exposed or unnecessary duplicates. A second pass clears out boring and blah. Then I select my pool of images to edit (which is probably too many 😉).

As in everything, working with more intentionality yields better results, though it is harder. I like his mindset of thinking of a collection of photos from a trip as a body of work — this is probably similar to my thinking when I’m constructing an excursion blog post, where I try to curate a representative selection of photos, but if some shots are too similar I might remove one. In the comments, Jon Revere shares his perspective of framing a story, which sometimes means including less than great shots. This resonates with the approach I took to my 2021 photography and writing project Sense Memory.

I am unclear from his description: how many images does he delete? Does he save copies of all his photos to revisit in the future, or only the select best? Are there still 30k photos from that trip on his hard drive?


Read The Story Grid

Read The Story Grid

The Story Grid is a tool developed by editor Shawn Coyne to analyze stories and provide helpful editorial comments. It’s like a CT Scan that takes a photo of the global story and tells the editor or writer what is working, what is not, and what must be done to make what works better and fix what’s not. The Story Grid breaks down the component parts of stories to identify the problems. And finding the problems in a story is almost as difficult as the writing of the story itself (maybe even more difficult.)
The Story Grid is a tool with many applications:
1. It will tell a writer if a Story “works” or “doesn’t work.”
2. It pinpoints story problems but does not emotionally abuse the writer, revealing exactly where a Story (not the person creating the Story…the Story) has failed.
3. It will tell the writer the specific work necessary to fix that Story’s problems.
4. It is a tool to re-envision and resuscitate a seemingly irredeemable pile of paper stuck in an attic drawer.
5. It is a tool that can inspire an original creation.

Ironically, this dreadfully needed an editor — concepts were poorly explained, and the chapters were not organized in a way that I found helpful.

I did get one good takeaway from it: thinking of each part of the story in terms of inciting incident through climax. I also liked framing the crisis as a question. There are some other ideas on the verge of helpful but not quite sufficiently explained for me to use them.

The last hundred pages is a breakdown of Silence of the Lambs, which I flipped through but didn’t read because I found the movie pretty disturbing.


Idea-first or word-first writers

Replied to What are some tips for advanced writers? How do you push your writing into by Venkatesh Rao (Quora)

You could divide the world of advanced writers into a 2×2, based on whether they are prioritizing developing their thinking or their writing, and whether they are focusing on fiction or non-fiction.

Prioritizing thinking or wordcraft is an intriguing way to divide writers. (I usually find what Venkatesh Rao has to say interesting, though I often disagree with him.)

This mind garden is thinking-focused, often an unrevised braindump (sorry anyone reading 😅). I revise as I write, the writing process being largely a thinking process for me as well, with most of my edits to reflect changes in my thinking as I draft. I try to cut out my pet issues, which are usually asides tangential to, and distracting from, my main path of thought (of course, always after I’ve spent ten minutes writing a rant 😉) — although in casual writing like blogging I do like a more stream of consciousness, conversational style.

In my fiction, too, I’m an idea-focused writer. One of my friends writes lyrical prose that casts  mood beautifully — a writing style that serves her well for short stories. I don’t care enough about wordcraft to put in the work to develop gorgeous prose — and fortunately my workman prose is suitable for the commercial genres I write in, romance and science fiction. (I wonder if my indifference to finely crafted prose contributes to my distaste for literature 🤔 Other readers derive a lot of value from beautiful writing, but I’m honed in on the action and skim-read on fast forward to get to the good stuff, so the prose doesn’t really register for me unless it beats me over the head like Raymond Chandler 🤷‍♀️)

What matters to me in both my fiction and nonfiction writing is clarity — a mark I miss more than I’d like in first drafts 😉 In fiction I tend to write in a reverse order from what makes sense to the reader, so revision involves a lot of moving sentences around. In non-fiction, I tend towards overlong, overcomplicated sentences. Em dashes, semicolons, parentheticals, give em to me 😉

Learning to recognize your personal writing patterns and tendencies is a key aspect of getting better at revision; when I worked as a writing tutor we listened for patterns we could point out to a writer, so they could focus on spotting and revising those in future works.

How much, and how quickly, does practicing revision improve your first draft writing? In fiction writing I can focus on improving one aspect of my drafting at a time. Gradually, my initial versions need less attention. I’ve focused this way on dialogue and visual / sensory description (my fiction suffers from white room syndrome 😂) — but also know to put extra emphasis on checking for these in planning and revision. Part of becoming a better writer is adapting your process to suit your style and weaknesses — the quality of your first drafts is less important than the finished work, as long as you’re actually revising 😉


Read The Last Draft

Read The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision

his wise and friendly guide shows writers how to turn first-draft manuscripts into the novels of their dreams. A critic, longtime teacher, and award-winning novelist, Sandra Scofield illustrates how to reread a work of fiction with a view of its subject and vision, and how to take it apart and put it back together again, stronger and deeper. Scofield builds her explanations around helpful concepts like narrative structure, character agency, and core scenes, using models from classic and contemporary writers. The detailed, step-by-step plan laid out in The Last Draft offers invaluable advice to both novice and experienced writers alike. In Scofield, they will find a seasoned, encouraging mentor to steer them through this emotional and intellectual journey.

Skimmed a lot. Broken into sections, several of which were not pertinent or helpful to me. I gleaned the most from the second section, on actually making revisions. Parts three and four, about finishing and polishing the book, were embarrassingly short. It would have worked better to format this as a workbook rather than a fully prose work with some bulleted lists. I did take quite a number of notes.

She recommends keeping a revision log, with entries after each work session logging what changes you made, how you feel about it, and questions you currently have.


Read Refuse to Be Done

Read Refuse to Be Done

They say writing is rewriting. So why does the second part get such short shrift? Refuse To Be Done will guide you through every step of the novel writing process, from getting started on those first pages to the last tips for making your final draft even tighter and stronger.

From lauded writer and teacher Matt Bell, Refuse to Be Done is encouraging and intensely practical, focusing always on specific rewriting tasks, techniques, and activities for every stage of the process. You won’t find bromides here about the “the writing Muse.” Instead, Bell breaks down the writing process in three sections. In the first, Bell shares a bounty of tactics, all meant to push you through the initial conception and get words on the page. The second focuses on reworking the narrative through outlining, modeling, and rewriting. The third and final section offers a layered approach to polishing through a checklist of operations, breaking the daunting project of final revisions into many small, achievable tasks.

First draft portion is aimed at pantsers and exploratory writers, but still has some suggestions for keeping writing interesting that could be useful to plotters too.

Second and third draft sections were more useful, though a fair amount involves sentence level revision when I suspect that many writers (like me) find that easier than large scale structural revisions.