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The First Draft Is Easy

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m starting in on my second draft of my novel. What I’m learning is that the first draft was the easy part. Which if you had told me that while writing my first draft I would have said you were crazy.

Surely, the first draft is the hardest. You’re trying to collect your thoughts and get something coherent down on paper without your inner critic getting in the way. After that it is just clean up. Right?

Almost. What I’m discovering is that there are plenty of helpful tips and blogs with numbered lists of how to get your first manuscript finished. There are a plethora of people ready to show you how to start your first novel and even how to finish it. But it seems like no one is really sure on how to EDIT your first novel.

Now I’m not talking about the easy stuff. Oh, cut out adverbs. Remove was/were, cut gerunds, and the word very.

What I’m talking about is how to keep the editing from snowballing into a complete rewrite. There are some issues I’d like to address but I keep finding that changing them starts to inflate and need more and more changes down the line which then affect the overall pacing in a negative way.

I then have to ask myself, are the changes necessary? I certainly feel like they are. But how can I really know?

One idea was to rewrite a brand new outline. Just outline the ideas for changes and include what has already been written in the outline. That way I can catch these snowballs before I get too deep into the editing process. Lord knows that I don’t want to be halfway through editing a full MS and realize that the changes in chapter one have screwed up everything.

I’m finding this next part to be challenging. More challenging than writing my first draft. But I know it will be as rewarding an experience and satisfying once I’m able to hand it off to my beta readers. My job now is to figure out the method that works best for me when it comes to editing a second draft.

I only wish that it was as easy as the first.

Monolithic Wall, thy name is Editing.

I’ve hit that next stage in writing a book. Editing it. I took some time off from it. Wrote a short story, edited another one, and also read through the novel. All in attempts to have a clear mind when coming back to the table.

But when I think about starting, I do get a bit paralyzed. Because I can’t really determine where I should start. Or how I should start. Certainly, I know what portions need attention. There are scenes needing to be cut and scenes needing to be added. But those feel like such daunting tasks.

What’s more, is that I know what the answer to this problem really is. Just do it. Get in there and start making a mess. Pick a point and attack it. Mix it up with the manuscript. I even have a pretty decent idea of how to do that. But for some reason, when I get prepared to start, I freeze.

I know I’m not the first person to have this problem. And I won’t be the last. I just wish this part was as easy as writing the stupid thing. Which wasn’t particularly smooth itself.

Ugh, time to just do it.



Plans for 2013

Velkommen, my friends. It’s that time for people to talk about resolutions and things they are going to change! But not for me. I don’t feel the need to bother with those kinds of declarations. Instead, I just know what I need to do. Granted, resolution means to make a firm decision to do or not to do something. But in context of New Years is feels like it is always meant as, “I was bad at doing this last year. But by gum I’m going to be better at doing that thing I didn’t do!”

For me, heading into 2013, I have some very firm actions that have to take place. First is sending out my short story to be considered for the “Thunder On The Battlefield” anthology. I’ve put it through my reading group, made several edit passes, and I think it’s ready to go. That’s priority one and will be checked off tonight.

Second up is to start editing my book. There are major revisions and cuts that are crying to be made to it. In later chapters I mention scenes from earlier in the book that I’ve yet to write. There are scenes in the book calling to be cut, while others need to be moved forward. Just from my experience editing my short stories, I know this is going to be a bear.

Ultimately my goal there is to have it done some time around the end of February or March. Hand it off to my beta readers and then start on some of my other writing projects. “The Afterlife Hypothesis” is in need of a new ending and a few other short stories have been sliding around my brain space. I’ll snatch up one of those and see where they take me.

With luck, by the end of summer I’ll be working on the second edit pass of my book, taking me into fall. Once that’s done, we hand it off again to some more readers. From there, it all depends on their feedback whether or not I start shopping it around to agents and publishers, or start a third edit pass.

And to be clear, this edit passes are just for content. I’m not counting the number of grammar passes and general clean up I’ll be doing.

Yeah, 2013 is going to be busy.

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