Monday, January 12, 2015

Advice For Writers #19: How To Revise Your First Draft Part 1

Congratulations! You finished your first draft (I assume!). Now what?

Now comes the very long process of editing! Yay! Awesome! Amazing! Get out the fireworks!

Obviously, if you can't tell, I'm being very sarcastic. But I will tell you that finishing your first draft is totally an adventure of your own. Now, you must take out your erasers and red pens and start slashing out words, paragraphs, or even chapters. 

(And I'm partially writing this post, because I'm having trouble revising TBQ). 

If you have just finished your first draft (like a day or so ago), stop reading this. Bookmark this page, and come back in a month or so. You don't want to edit right after you finish your first draft. Otherwise, you won't see the bigger picture (aka the bigger flaws). 

During that month, you can do nearly anything. Read a book (finally!), or write another book (but don't write the sequel to that first draft if you plan to revise the first draft any time soon!). 

So a month passes... Now what do you do?

First of all, you get out your first draft. If you wrote it in Word or Google Doc or a similar program, you are lucky! Change the font and format of the first draft. If you have an advanced version of Word, set the program into read mode. That way you can't make any edits while reading your first draft. For me, I can finish a book within a few hours as long as I'm not making any edits. 

While you read your first draft, take notes. Did you notice any plot holes? Write them down! Did you notice a plot thread that doesn't work out very well? Write that down! Did you not like a certain character? Did you notice how anticlimactic a certain part is? Did you notice how little romance there is? 

The key is to: WRITE THEM ALL DOWN!

The more notes you have, the better.

Once you are done reading your first draft, take a look at your notes. Don't start writing immediately! You need to plan and make a strategy. This is your chance to make a plot go a different direction or to make a character more developed! 

Okay, this is the end of Part 1. I'll give you all time to take a break from your writing and to strategize your assault plan on Operation Second Draft. Part 2 to come soon. 

Happy Writing!

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