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This Just In: How I edit a book—like a scientist at a microscope

Editing a book through a microscope

Editing a book through a microscope

Where the Light Enters is my first novel. I wrote the first draft in November and now I’m in the midst of the first edit. I’ve read lots of advice on the process of editing and the structure of the task. I decided that the best structure for me is one scene per day. And I really work that scene from overall book structure right down to the word choice. It’s like being a scientist—I put the scene on a slide and mess with it through a microscope to see if I can get something to happen.

I ask myself a lot of questions as I peer through the microscope. Why does this scene really matter to the overall structure of the book? What information and ideas need to be conveyed that are critical to the story, and how can I convey them through action? What are the characters’ relationships and motivations, and why are they important? I like this intense dive into a 2-inch picture frame of the book. The idea is that when I edit that last scene the book will have been through five drafts one scene at a time.

The value of intensity, focus, and merciless reworking? (Hopefully) priceless.

About Christa Avampato

I make a living in business and I make a life as a writer, artist, and yogi. I use my business and storytelling skills to build a better world. My first novel, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, will be published in the Fall of 2017 by Thumbkin Prints, a children's and YA imprint of Possibilities Publishing Co. My creative career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, and financial services. In every experience, I have used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, program, and events to help people live happier, healthier lives. A recovering multi-tasker, I am a proud alum of UPenn (BA) and the Darden School at UVA (MBA). When not in front of my Mac, I’m on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I am proud to New York City my home, and I've been called the happiest New Yorker by friends and strangers alike. They're right. Follow my adventures on Twitter at and Instagram at


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I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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