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Colorful Threads

Guild of Story Weavers

If you've just finished your book, know there are a ton of issues, but don't know how to fix're in the right place. Let's tackle them together.

Editing Roadmap

It's hard to go on a quest without a map. So, here's your map to help start you on your editing journey, Weavers. 

In May, you should be at 1 Distance while you prepare and gather your supplies (the recommended list is below).


When you actually set out on your journey in June, you'll be at 2 Developmental Edit.


So gather your courage, Weavers! It's time to start on your developmental quest.

Editing Process_edited.jpg

Developmental Editing Basics

Focus: Big-Picture Edits

When working on a developmental edit, it's all about the big-picture issues. Turn off your inner Grammarian and focus on your characters' arcs, plot, and pacing across the entire novel

Let It Rest a.k.a. Distance

The most important step you can take to prepare for any edit is to put your story in a box and forget it for as long as you can. Create distance between you and your book. Don't look at it until it's time to read it. 

Recommended Supplies

  • Print and spiral-bind your book

  • Sticky notes or index cards (multiple colors)

  • Wall/board to stick and organize

  • List of chapters or scenes

Developmental Editing Steps

  1. Prep: Distance. I really can't stress this enough. Give yourself as much time as possible between when you last looked at your book and when you start editing.

  2. Prep: Gather your supplies. You want to make sure that you have whatever you need at hand whenever you sit down to edit.

  3. Prep: Know the stages of editing. This is your first major editing pass. Being familiar with the other editing stages will help you focus on the stage you're in and help you organize and make decisions about the proposed edits later.

  4. Start reading. This is when the fun really begins. Look for the 3 must-haves and bonus (below). Make sure to put the chapter and page number.

  5. Make sticky notes for everything (Except for grammar and prose). It's ok if you're not sure which stage pairs with which issue. Just write it on a sticky anyhow and future-you will decide when it's time to make your editing plan.

  6. Post-reading. Organize your stickies into groups. (I chose each editing stage, story beats for POV characters, and world-building.) 

  7. Create your editing plan. On your printed scene/chapter list, you will start making a to-do list of what needs to be altered in each one. Also, take note of which structural beats need to be added or rearranged.

  8. Implement your editing plan. Once your plan is done, it's time to put the plan into action. The great thing about having the plan is you don't have to reread over and over: you can just do the edit and check it off your list (saving your objectivity).

3 Developmental Editing Must-Haves

New World



Check your main character’s arc.

•Does your character actually transform? Or do they remain stagnant?

•Can you easily identify your character’s Need, Want, and Flaw?

•Are they active or passive?



Does your novel have all the major beats?

•Using the outlining tool of your choice, reverse outline your novel. Even if you already have an outline.

•Which beats are present? Which are missing?

Running Group



Where’s the lag?

•Pay attention to where YOU put down your book, or YOU are exhausted.

•Problem areas: Infodumping? Saggy middle? Are things too fast?



Do you have inconsistencies in world-building across the novel?

  • Setting or character descriptions or names? 

  • Do abilities change over the novel?

  • Are there new people groups you didn't plan for?


Video Tutorials

Below, you'll find a series of videos to help you on your journey as Story Weavers (click here for YouTube playlist). Here is the order to watch them.

  1. Welcome

  2. How To

  3. Editing Plan

  4. Goal Setting

  5. Fictionary (Optional)

  6. Leveraging Editing Software (Optional)

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