Hey, welcome back to my 7-part series on rewriting and editing your book! Every writer and every story is different, so this isn’t a comprehensive checklist. Hopefully, though, my way of breaking the revision process down will give you some inspiration.

Today I’m going to talk about my favorite editing pass, and I hope you like it, too! Like the previous posts about character arcs and pacing, this gives you a way to get a bird’s-eye view of your own story after being in the weeds for a while.


How to Edit a Novel, Part Three: Pump It Up! #editing a novel step by step #advice for revising a novel manuscript #how to rewrite a book


Think about two or three adjectives or short phrases that you would like readers to use to describe your novel. If it helps, imagine the adjectives they would use when writing a review. For instance, I would hope that people would say that the beginning of my paranormal romance series was emotional, funny, and sexy.

Here are some other examples of other descriptions that you might aspire to:








full of twists

authentic historical feel

Okay, do you have your three descriptors? Now comes the fun part. For each one of them, go through your whole manuscript and look for opportunities to increase that element.

If you’re writing a horror novel, you’re likely to be going through and asking yourself: How can I make this even more scary?

If you’re working on a romantic suspense novel, you might be looking for places to make it more romantic… and your second pass might be to make it more suspenseful.



If you’re having trouble thinking of ways to do this, you might try the “fast list” method that I use so often. Write your challenge at the top of a blank page, like this:

How can I make my book more epic? (Or charming, quirky, satisfying, poetic, or whatever your descriptor is.)

Then number your page 1 – 15 and write down answers as quickly as they can. Even if some of the ideas are dumb, you’ll probably get to a good one.

There is the danger that you’ll think of something mind-blowing and amazing that will require a big rewrite.  Most likely, though, the revisions will be smaller. For each descriptor, you might be adding details, changing a few scenes, or even adding a scene to pump up that element a little bit more.

If you do this for all three descriptors, you’ll have pumped up your novel, and readers will have a more powerful response to it.

How would you want people to describe your novel? Have you ever tried revising or editing from this angle before? Let us know in the comments!

And if you don’t want to miss the rest of this series, follow the blog, if you’re not already — there’s a place below where you can sign up. Happy writing!