I thought this topic was worth revisiting simply because I underestimated its importance, and have been quite astonished about how much one can learn. My background lies in poetry, writing as a past time and for enjoyment. Whereas a poem may be 1-3 pages including carefully thought out syllables, rhymes, and the meaning of words. A novel can easily gather more than 200 pages. Poetry was the choice of writing for a good 10 years before pondering the idea of something so much longer.
Where to Start
It is rather sobering (and I don’t drink) to think that this all began with a failed attempt to invent my own language. What a way to begin a novel? I had often had the sort of dreams that can be remembered upon waking, and devoted a great deal of time to immersing myself in reading a wonderfully thick fantasy novel. Still there was no glimmer of the work involved, just the growing spark of a small dream that gathered ground wanting to be noticed. Slowly the poetry waned as my mind filled with the tune of a different story, and even before the first page was written the world building began along with a few false starts.
After the First Draft
I must admit, the thought of what happened after the first draft had not really entered my head. All the focus remained on the story, and I had completely forgotten the next stage. The project remained an idea, a dream that one day, way into the distant future I would publish the novel. Then life got in the way as it always does. The very last words of my first novel were written at a time when no doctor could tell me how long I had to live. I am pleased to say that I made it past that stage with help from family and friends, but that moment will forever be captured in the ending.
In case you have not guessed editing is about support, do not attempt it alone. Sift through the advice and find out what works best for you. Above all the best advice I can give is hand the story over for someone else to edit at the end, before that do as much editing as possible because this is a great way to learn.