Monday, January 26, 2015

Advice For Writers #21: How to Revise Your First Draft Part 2

And I'm back! Part 1 is "Advice For Writers #19." Feel free to go back and reread that! It will open in a new window. At least, it should.

Read more of this post underneath the cut.

So in Part 1 of this crazy post series, I talked about reading through your work and taking notes. Don't be afraid to reread it again and again. Hand it over to a beta reader, if you can't see anything wrong with it (because it is definitely not going to be perfect). Get a new pair of glasses.

Actually, try for an entire new pair of eyes. 

At this point, I open up a new document and put the first draft and new blank document side by side. I have my notes with me, and I make sure I revise what I see wrong. No, you are not supposed to change the wording and call it "a finish."

This is where it gets so nasty that some writers would prefer to jump out of the window. 

I start mapping it out. Should this subplot work? Should it be here? Does this romance feel a bit... weird? Should I give this character a more vibrant personality? Would this character speak like an Irishman? Or a pirate?

There is tons of questions, and sometimes, it is hard to see what is wrong. If you have a beta reader, that would most certainly help unfog your spectacles. (Yes, I use "unfog" because of Harry Potter and that prediction class). 

It really helps having a beta reader. Want a bad example? Or a good example? I'll leave it up to you.

Good example: I had 5 beta readers for TLP. They helped get my head out of the hat I'm wearing. TLP is constantly shifting and changing because of those beta readers. Sometimes, I do need need a bunch of eyes (preferably, a dozen) to see better. Each perspective tells me so much about TLP from a different direction. 

Bad example: My grandmother on my father's side is writing a book. Oh, yeah. She is (and therefore, writing is most definitely in the family). She is drafting a book about how to "nurture" your child to be successful. My mother, not her beta reader (at least not officially), says that my grandmother's child is the farthest from successful. Mom says she knows because she lives with my grandmother's kid.

*shrugs* Family drama. But the lesson of the bad example is that you should never tell your daughter-in-law that you are writing a book about your relationships and family. Because things are going to catch fire. 

Okay, this post is getting rather long. But the thing is that it is okay to get a beta reader for your first draft (especially if you can't see anything). Start mapping out your book. Prepare to kill! 

Happy Editing! 

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