Thoughts on Love, Sex, Kink, and Gay Romance Novels

Posts tagged ‘Draft document’

Rough Draft- Now What?

I’m a couple big scenes away from finishing my first draft, and now my brain is whirring about trying to organizeĀ  things I need to do in the editing process. I’m calmer if I have a plan, so I’ve written out the next steps as I see them and thought I’d share in case they are helpful to anyone else. I’m hoping that some of these will become natural as I write more, but for now I feel like it’s helpful to me to be very explicit about everything- not just the sex šŸ™‚

  • First Draft
  • Full read – Look for:
    • plot holes
    • inconsistencies
    • areas that need enhancement
    • secondary characters that need more or less time
    • identify themes
  • 2nd draft:
    • make changes identified in full read 1
    • update character list and general story notes as appropriate (I have a terrible memory for names and physical details, so I try to keep a list of these things in a separate document so I don’t accidentally change the color of someone’s eyes or their apartment number or something)
  • Create scene checklist and think about
    • level of tension and conflict- do they escalate appropriately?
    • does each scene drive story forward?
    • does each scene lead to more questions the reader will want answered?
    • is each scene intrinsically interesting and not just plot exposition?
    • does each scene have some elements of humor?
    • do the scenes support or undermine the theme
  • 3rd Draft: Fix any problems identified with scene checklist
  • 4th draft: Descriptions – ThisĀ  revision set is based on a known personal weakness. I often feel barely cognizant of my real physical environment, and have been called ‘selectively oblivious’ to the world around me. And so describing physical details does not come nearly as naturally to me as emotions and dialogue. So, in this stage I will force myself to think about the physical details in each scene and make sure they are described sufficiently and interestingly. I’m actually looking forward to it as an interesting writing challenge. I found some very good advice here that I shall attempt to follow:
    • place descriptions
    • people descriptions
    • body language
    • add descriptions for both people and places to overview document to check for consistencies
  • 5th Draft: Language and voice
    • check for passive voice- I had a lot of misconceptions about this and found some very good references to help:
    • kill adverbs- this is going to be harder than avoiding the candy jar in my co-workers office, for similar reasons. I know they’re bad, especially in excess, but they’re just so easy to slip in there. My brain supplies adverbs effortlessly, more interesting words only more grudgingly. Two in one sentence and that wasn’t even on purpose. I did a quick search on my rough draft for the number of words that ended in ‘ly.’ More than 900. Ouch. This will take some work, but I’m sure the prose will be much better for it. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on adverbs, and have come across some more balanced opinions that seem to provide good advice, that I’m going to try to follow:
    • search and destroy boring words and descriptors (things, stuff, etc.) Some good resources for identifying these:
    • look for forms of start and decide if they need to be there. This is a weird personal writing tic, that I’ve noticed. I’m not sure why I do it but I throw in forms of the word ‘start’ into sentences completely unnecessarily. A search revealed more that 100 occurrences of ‘start.’ I suspect most shouldn’t be there. For example, Bad: ‘Elizabeth got up and started pacing.’Ā  Most of those words are wrong. Better: ‘Elizabeth stood and paced’. Even better, “Elizabeth wrenched her hands from Tim’s grasp, strode to the far corner of the room, turned and glared at the portrait on the wall, before crossing the room again. She repeated this five times before she spoke again. Tim counted.”Ā  That was fun. Now I just need to do it to the rest of the book.
    • identify verbal and physical habits of main characters and check for consistency
    • Glasses check. (Specific to this story. One of my main characters has glasses and I sometimes forget they are there, which is relevant at times.)
  • Set aside for a couple weeks
  • Full read-through fresh as a reader, seeing if anything jumps out as wrong
    • make notes
    • fix any problems
  • Find beta readers
  • Write synopsis and blurb
  • Respond and make changes to beta feedback
  • Prepare submission to publisher

Luckily, I really enjoy the editing process or I might run screaming at this point. So any thoughts from others about what you do between first draft and letting someone else read it?