Editing the first draft
You finished writing a book! Congrats are in order! Now it’s time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, be proud, and open a bottle of bubbly. Not everyone can go through the whole progress of writing a book. Some people will quit half way or find it too boring but you did it so kudos to you. It wasn’t easy but nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment when you write. THE END
Now you might ask yourself now what? I’ve finished it’s time to look for agents or have editors look at it, this where I tell you to hold it right there! You’re not done oh no you’re not, the first draft is just beginning. Now, it’s time to polish and edit that baby.
Here are my five tips for editing the first draft.
1. Let it rest.
The first tip on editing the first draft Yes, don’t read it, don’t look at it, don’t think about it. Hide it away, pretend it doesn’t exist. With this you give your MS a room to breathe and for you to take a break. You can catch up with TBR or go out with friends, watch a TV show. Or start a new a project if you are like me, you’re drafting all the time. Leave it for as long you like three/fours weeks is recommended, the longer you leave it, the better.
2. Do not show it to anyone.
As I said in the other post, do not show it to anybody, not your family, friends nor your dog. The first draft is writing the story for you. You are jolting your ideas and words down into the paper.
3. Prepare to cringe.
Editing the first draft comes with a bit of cringing at least for me and it gets real. Once you let it sit, now it’s time to open that baby and read it with fresh eyes. You can print it out or edited straight from your laptop/PC. I edit straight from the laptop. Here you notice everything wrong with the draft. Just breathe remember you can’t edit a blank page.
4. Look for everything.
By everything, I mean you have to ask yourself are the characters well developed? Are there plot holes? Is this scene okay shall I cut out or not if I cut it will it make a difference to the overall story? Is the dialogue stale?
My first draft will lurk character action/emotions/expression. They’ll be like robots in a dialogue just talking. Also, descriptions are my weak point so I leave it after I finish it and work on that. I wouldn’t focus too much on grammar at this point as this comes on the later draft the mean focus is on the story.
The important part of editing the first draft the best writing comes from rewriting, so here is the real work start. Read it aloud. Do the sentences sound off, is too long can you shorten it? Are the sentences passive? If they are, make sure they are re-written in the active voice. Say what? Let me explain. The passive is when the object is doing the action. The active is when the subject is doing the action.
The book was handed to me by Tom.
The book is an object and Tom is the subject so to the sentence to be active it needs to be rewritten as.
Tom handed the book to me.
Hope those tips where useful please share if you liked this posts.
Happy writing and reading xxx