Writing a Book: The First Read-Through

With the first draft completed, it’s on to the first read-through. My plan was initially to line-edit, adding in more detail where needed and re-writing sentences that could be clearer. However, I decided to make one considerable change at the same time… The tense of the book.

My book is written between (mostly) two characters’ perspectives. One I wrote in present tense, and one I wrote in past tense, as we are flitting between two periods of time. However, upon reading, I decided that the whole thing would work better in past tense. So, here I am, working through the arduous task of changing the tense of my book. As far as I’m aware, there’s no easy way to do this, so I’m editing the tense as I go. It’s kind of annoying, but a necessary evil at this stage.

Editing other people’s manuscripts is something I do often, but editing my own is different.

I took to the internet for help! I know perfectly well what I should be doing, but there’s something about editing your own manuscript that completely throws all common sense out of the window. I came across a few helpful links, which I’ll list below, about editing/re-reading your own manuscript.

Something I always encourage clients to do, is to save a copy of their first draft.

Don’t edit over what you already have. Save it as a different file name so that you can come back to it later. It can be a great point of reference. For once, I took my own advice and didn’t have to prescribe the adage, ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’

Many of the ‘tips’ say to leave your manuscript for a while before you edit it.

Urgh. I’m not doing that, sorry! I’ll take all the rest of the advice, but there’s no way I can let my book sit for weeks and not edit it. At this point, my main aims are to change the tense of one of the character’s points of view, and also to note where I think any additional chapters/information could be added.

I’m editing/reading a couple of chapters a day.

This is what works for me. I spend my whole day reading, writing, and editing other people’s work and so taking half an hour to edit/read my own is all I can manage (unless it’s a day off, but then I end up getting caught up in various chores). There are no hard and fast rules on the pace of editing, or writing. Consistency is key, and everything adds up.

To sum up: I decided to change the tense of the manuscript!

I’ve made a huge job for myself by doing this, but I think it’s the right thing for the manuscript. Fingers crossed! Thank you for joining in my journey to publication, and reading my waffle. Any tips or tricks about writing/editing your own work would be greatly appreciated.

As always, wishing you love and books that make your heart skip a beat,

Sarah Jules x

Helpful Links:


2 thoughts on “Writing a Book: The First Read-Through

  1. We do a lot of the same things! I too edit a couple chapters a day of my own work, and I save various states of drafts instead of working on one rolling file. Anyway, thanks for this post, Sarah!


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