How to Create an Editing Process That Works for You With Author JD Edwin


In order to turn your first draft into a publication-ready novel, you need an editing process. The key is to develop the editing process that works for you: a system you can refine and repeat book after book after book.

That’s what author JD Edwin has done. She’s published three novels to rave reviews. And she’s honed her own editing into a step-by-step system that works for her.

In this episode of Your Next Draft, she’s sharing the editing process she uses and how you can develop a process of your own.

How to Develop Your Editing Process

This is a really fun episode because it’s the first time I’ve invited an author to share their process on the podcast, and as you’ll hear, JD Edwin has a really robust process.

In our conversation, she shares:

  • How many drafts it takes her to create a publication-ready novel
  • How she self-edits her drafts before sharing them with anyone
  • How she uses alpha readers to identify major problems early on
  • When she brings in an editor for professional feedback
  • What a plot treatment is and how she uses it to easily edit big-picture structural issues in her stories
  • And the books she studied to help her learn to self-edit her novels effectively

Meet JD Edwin, Author of the Headspace Trilogy

JD Edwin is the author of the Headspace series: Headspace, Master of the Arena, and Orb Hunters. It’s a sci-fi adventure series about the champions of a deadly game who travel the galaxy to save themselves, their planets, and eventually, the entire universe.

JD has also developed a really robust and strategic writing and editing process to get her drafts of her novels done fast, especially first drafts. And she’s the author of an upcoming guide to this fast first draft process, working title The Write Fast System, coming in October.

JD is honestly one of the most productive authors I know—so productive that it’s almost a little intimidating. She is definitely someone you want to learn from if you want to learn how to speed up your writing process and write more excellent novels faster.

Jump to Key Moments

Want to jump straight to specific topics? Check out these timestamps:

  • [5:30] JD Edwin figured out how to tell a great story by writing Headspace
  • [8:39] Headspace took five drafts to write and edit
  • [11:28] Transitioning from writing the first draft to editing the second draft is a significant mental shift
  • [13:19] How JD Edwin decided it was time to send her novel to a developmental editor, plus the mindset that helped this step feel less scary
  • [15:36] The step-by-step editing process JD Edwin has developed over the course of writing, editing, and publishing three novels
  • [19:56] How to develop an editing system that works for YOU (and let go of what doesn’t work!)
  • [24:21] How JD Edwin uses plot treatments to make editing the big picture story structure easier
  • [32:06] Why self-editing is an essential part of the editing process, even if you plan to send your manuscript to an editor
  • [35:11] When JD Edwin self-edits and when she sends her manuscript to me to edit
  • [37:12] How to self-edit a novel (i.e., the specific changes JD Edwin makes when she’s self-editing a draft)
  • [45:24] Yes, editing gets easier with more books and more practice
  • [53:13] What JD Edwin is editing right now
  • [59:15] When JD Edwin shares her book with alpha readers, plus the kind of feedback she wants on early drafts
  • [1:02:31] Why JD Edwin enjoys editing and the mindset that keeps her going when editing gets tough

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Read JD Edwin’s books and find her online:

Read the Write Great Fiction series and learn how to develop your own editing process:

Check out more of Your Next Draft:

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