What you should focus on when editing a literary fiction novel

The best way you can write your novel is to ensure that you write it the way that you desire to write it. You can utilize any type of aid to improve on your prose. But the characters, story, and many other things you want to tell in your novel can be narrated best if you ignore the demands of a literary fiction novel as a genre. This is the reason why you need to focus on these demands during the editing process. 

Ideally, the first editing can be on a micro level. This is where you have to read through your manuscript. You can also get a professional editor who can help you to see issues in plot, word consistency, characterization, and continuity. There is also a second level of editing that focuses on the writing. With a literary fiction novel, this should be the edit when you have to ensure that the story delivers everything you promised.

Literary fiction demands

There are some common rules that are usually associated with literary fiction. This includes character-based plot, beautiful prose, and creative use of metaphors, similes, and language. Others are slow pace that can allow for relation of philosophies and themes, a title and cover to set your book apart, and purple prose, especially if it’s ideal for your writing style and you are aware that it can suit your potential readers. 

But the term literary tends to be quite subjective. There are some readers who like reading literary fiction novels while others can read your literary fiction novel for the story and fail to regard it as literary. Therefore, the term literary fiction novel often matters to academics and critics, and writers who target literary fiction awards. If this is your aim, you need to follow the literary fiction novels that are appreciated by the critics and get awards for literary merit.

It’s worth mentioning that even critics can be subjective. You can write the best literary fiction novel, but there is a chance that some critics may consider it not worthy for merit. This is the reason you should always use beta readers, especially the ones who have read several literary fiction books and know the properties of a literary fiction novel. This beta reader can offer you constructive feedback you need to make sure that your literary fiction novel deserves merit. 

The book title and cover

In this digital world, a genre novel can have an awe-inspiring cover that is worthy of most literary fiction covers. But a literary fiction novel’s cover tends to set it apart from the rest. Therefore, it’s a good idea to focus on the font you use on the cover as well as the illustration on it. Both of these should match the themes that you can find between the covers. 

Besides, literary fiction is often published in trade paperback or hardback. This means that your novel can be published in paperback, though it may be the same quality and size as hardback books instead of mass paperback which tend to be smaller and are printed in larger quantities suitable for genre books.

When it comes to the title, it should set your book even further apart. No doubt, this involves creativity and ingenuity so that you can have a title that may convey your idea. The titles of the literary fiction novel usually have the theme of the novel. Therefore, the title gives you a glimpse into the underlying theme and the story.

Themes, ideas, and stories

Each novel must have a theme and an idea, and each story conveys something from the actual world. Regardless of whether your book is a mirror into the soul of the characters or it’s just a window that enables your characters to see the world, there should be an underlying idea or theme that you need to show throughout the novel. 

The theme or idea must be on the mind of your character and within the story. If you fail to do this, there can be no connection between the idea and the story. In other words, there can be no reason for the protagonist to focus on the theme, so your book can lose the literary merit you aim for. 

In any novel, most readers like reading the plot that you present on the surface. But a literary fiction novel always has an underlying theme that can reveal the meaning of the novel. Therefore, the underlying theme can give the literary fiction novel its meaning. Readers of literary fiction novels also expect the theme to reveal itself through the changes and thoughts in the protagonist as well as the events of the plot.  

There are several themes that you can handle in a literary fiction novel. This includes taboo themes, such as a relationship between a student and a teacher and dark themes like rape, death, and family violence. If you want to tackle these themes, you have to do them justice. This is because there are chances that your readers may have experienced them. 

Thoughts, reflections, and opinions

Any writer who intends to write a literary fiction novel does it because they have something to share with the world. There is a chance that you want to share your philosophy about real love or you desire to show your readers how a human being can deal with the passing on of their loved ones. Regardless of whatever you want to share with your readers, you never preach. Remember that it’s quite easy to get into the preaching mode, particularly when you believe that the things you want to share are important. 

You need to make sure that your voice must not imitate the voices of characters. Therefore, ensure that each character talks differently. Also, you should make sure that the things your characters are saying make sense. You should also note that your target audience can understand that the character’s words are yours. For example, if you allow your character to use rude words throughout your novel without changing, your readers can think that you as a writer accept a person to behave rudely.


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