Last week, I was overjoyed to have finished the first draft of my debut novel and was looking forward to the course I was going on to help me with the next phase. Then I found out that my course had been cancelled! Cue much disappointment and even despair on my part. What was I going to do?

As a beginner writer, I know that my first draft is going to need a lot of work on it and I don’t really feel equipped to do that on my own but I don’t have lots of money to spend on asking a professional to do it for me either.
So finally, after much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing (not just figuratively speaking!), I knew I had to get on with it. I had come across a really useful website earlier in the week that someone doing prep for NaNoWriMo had recommended.

This got me thinking that I should apply this to my story to help me see where the gaps are and hopefully, begin to tighten things up. I found out that Alexandra has a couple of useful books too and I downloaded one of those today from Amazon, aimed particularly at romance writers.

I have spent a lot of useful time thinking about this today and it has helped me a lot but it is going to take me a really long time. I know that this is partly because I didn’t do all this preparation first and I truly regret that now but I have no choice but to try and get on with it. My aim is to make my novel better and so I am determined to plod on and do the best I can with the wealth of information there is on the internet and by buying one or two recommended books for writers as well. Wish me luck!

Are you doing a structural edit or have you tried to do one for one of your novels in the past? Have you got any tips you could share? Any comments will be greatly appreciated as always.


4 Comments on Attempting a structural edit of your first draft

  1. I’m just ahead of you, but firmly stuck with my structural edits. I have been attempting to edit my first draft novel since April and I’ve made huge changes – changed the chronology, altered the timeline and altered characters to better feed the conflict in the novel.
    At the moment it seems like a never ending task: I’ve done a lot of rewriting and so I’m likely going to end up with another first draft by the time I get all the way through!
    I’m planning to write the sequel to this novel in this year’s NaNoWriMo so I think some of my block comes from not knowing what I will have to write in to support the happenings in the sequel. I’m hoping that, once November is over and I have a better idea of where my story ends for everyone, I’ll be better equipped to tackle the edits overall.
    Will definitely keep an eye on your blog for any tips or suggested reading you think is worthwhile. Sorry I can’t really offer any useful advice – but if you want to know what might not work, you can check out some of my own blog posts over at
    Good Luck!
    Take Care, Cat x

    • Hi Cat, Thanks for your message. I’ve been following your blog for a while and already find it very helpful, especially in the run-up to NaNoWriMo which I’m doing for the first time this year.
      I’ve already done some rewriting on my first draft whilst I was still trying to finish it and so this is really somewhere between the 1st and 2nd! But I am so stuck on the plot 🙁 I will definitely have a reread of your posts to see what your experience has been and maybe we can keep each other’s confidence boosted as we go through November?
      Thanks for taking the time to reply.

      • I’m glad you find my ramblings useful! Would most definitely like to support you through your first year of NaNo – that’s so exciting!
        Perhaps after our success in November (let’s be positive and assume we make it) we can support one another on the editing side too…we could stumble through it together!

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