How to Revise Your Novel for Submission: Self-Editing Techniques that Work

How to Revise Your Novel for Submission: Self-Editing Techniques that Work

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  • You are drafting a novel
  • You are a novelist who finds themselves stuck mid-way through a draft
  • You are a writer who has finished their novel draft and wants to polish it for submission
  • You are someone who wants to revise and edit their fiction more efficiently
  • You are a writer who wants to improve their craft and present their very best work to readers


Finishing the first draft of a novel is a major accomplishment, but that's just the beginning of a writer's work. The next step is to do a thorough revision, shaping that novel into its very best form. Top-notch revision skills are an important part of a writer's toolkit, especially now that agents and editors expect manuscripts to be well-polished. But revising a long work of fiction can be daunting. Where do you begin? How do you decide what's working and what isn't? And how, exactly, should you go about fixing things?

In this presentation, author and Literary Agent Marie Lamba breaks down the revision process, revealing steps you can take to systematically self-edit your manuscript. She shares the tricks she's discovered while editing her own novels, and shows how to spot and correct problems with essential elements like pacing, structure, characters, dialogue and plot. Marie also reveals ways to pull a reader (or an agent) deeper into your fictional world.

At the end of this presentation, you'll be ready to look at your novel with fresh eyes, and to use new tools that can take your manuscript from sloppy first draft into its final submission-ready form.


  • Best practices for writing your first draft
  • What to do if you get stuck
  • Systematic steps for revising that can simplify the editing process and elevate your work
  • Tricks for objectively assessing your own work
  • Ways to get outside feedback - and how to make sure it's helpful
  • How to create tension on every page
  • Tips that will really bring characters to life
  • How to make dialogue sing
  • Tricks for spotting and cutting flabby scenes
  • Techniques to track plot and character arcs and spot when they are going off track
  • Ways to suck readers in and keep them involved in your story
  • How storyboarding and outlining can help untangle plot problems
  • What to do if your book is too long‚Ķor too short
  • Elements that excite an agent or editor


Marie Lamba ( is a Literary Agent at the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in NYC (, where she represents picture book writers and illustrators, middle grade, YA and adult fiction, plus memoir. Marie is actively seeking talented authors to add to her list of clients. She is author of the picture book Green, Green (Farrar Straus Giroux, '17), and the young adult novels What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head, and Drawn. Her articles are in more than 100 publications, including national magazines, and she's a frequent contributor to Writer's Digest. Marie has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, and a book publicist, and has taught classes on novel writing and on author promotion. For updates on her books and on what she's looking for as an agent, you can follow her on Twitter @marielamba, and like her Facebook page: Marie Lamba, Author.

NOTE: Writer's Digest does not offer refunds for OnDemand Webinars. All sales are final. OnDemand Webinars do NOT include a critique.

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