As noted, I took last week off from writing new blog posts so I could devote any and every excess moment I could into finishing my draft of the newest book. It worked; late Thursday morning, I typed up the final scenes that concluded the story. While it felt good to have finally finished the draft, that sense of relief I was hoping for didn’t come.
Because I knew I wasn’t really done.
It was, after all, a first draft.
With this project I took a different approach. Usually I begin the story and keep writing until I reach the end. I don’t look back and don’t change a thing until that draft is finished. This time, with this story, it just wasn’t working for me. Every 50-70 pages I had to stop and go back over it, sometimes three or four times, before I was content enough to move forward. By the time I finished focusing on those pages, not only were they stronger, but I had a better sense of where I was going.
So, while normally I’d have a very skeletal frame, now I have a pretty well-developed draft. The last 70 pages need the same tender, loving care the previous 250 did, but once I have them in tip-top shape I think two careful read-through/edits should give me a completed, ready-to-send manuscript.
But exactly how to do I self-edit/revise? It requires several read-throughs, each looking for something different. First, I will look to make sure the dialogue sounds real and the narrative moves the story forward and is not repetitive. The second read-through, I may focus on passive/active verbs, especially if on that first read through I found it sounded too passive (a big downfall of my draft writing). Then a third and possibly a fourth to fine tune the wording and the punctuation. Usually, with each pass that focuses on one thing, something else will jump out and that will be the next focus.
Will this new process work for me? Time will tell.