Writing YA: Edit and Polish

So you’ve finished your first draft – congratulations! Now it’s time to edit, edit and edit some more to make your book the best it can be.

make it work

Let It Rest

Once you’ve finished for first draft, give it a while to settle. Give yourself some distance.

Set it aside for a week and then go back it to start your edits. What you need to do to your manuscript will be clearer and easier.

Read It Aloud

Brains are amazing things and one of their powers is to fill in the gaps or smooth over stumbles because it knows what should be in that place. Your mouth, however, isn’t quite as smart!

i've got the power

Reading aloud – to your cat, your BFF, your empty cereal bowl – will make you notice the sentences that don’t flow, the bits that make you stumble, the places you may have got lost. It’s a vital step.

Beta Readers

Readers you can trust to be thorough, honest and reliable are a writer’s gold dust.

A Good Beta Reader Will:

  • Spot continuity issues.
  • Check that it flows and makes sense.
  • Identify plot holes or rogue strands.
  • Be specific in their critiques and feedback.

reading community

A Good Beta Reader:

  • Is (ideally) personally familiar with issues in your novel.
  • Reads the genre and age-range  you’re writing.
  • Has never read your manuscript before – fresh eyes are best.


  • You’ve done amazingly to get this far. Don’t get disheartened and give up.
  • It’s okay to make changes.
  • Keep working on it.

Words of encouragement from Twitter:

Share your best editing tips with us at @maximumpopbooks!

Previous Posts

Writing YA: An Introduction
Writing YA: What’s your genre?
Writing YA: Tropes and Cliches
Writing YA: Are you a planner or a pantser?
Writing YA: Apps and Tools
Writing YA: Who are your characters?

Coming up!

Writing YA: Essential Reading for Writers
Writing YA: Prepping for Publishing

And more!

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Written by Sophie Waters

Sophie is the Head of Commercial at Maximum Pop! Having studied English Lit and Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, she came to MP! to satisfy her passion for books. Sophie is a diehard Hufflepuff and feminist. She's also a huge cat lover, and can often be found rocking her socks off at a gig.

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