As I work on my second non-fiction project, I’m going to share snippets with you as I did last year with Plot Your Novel. This year I’m focusing on the editing process. I gave you a quick overview back in December, but this week I’m going to focus on my first pass.
In the first pass, I really work on filling in details I missed in the first draft. This includes character descriptions, settings, and other research I skimped on to stay in the flow of writing. And I like to nail down the timeline of events in this stage. When I’m writing the first draft, I don’t really pay attention to the details of day and time, I just write. When I read through it, I pick up on the “Tuesday evening” and “that weekend” phrases that don’t flow correctly and I fix them.
First, I work on the characters. I know I try to build them up as much as possible when I’m plotting, but things change during the first draft. And I’ll add characters as a scene requires that I didn’t initially plan for. So, I go back through character worksheets and make them even stronger than before.
Second, I find any spots with weak (or non-existent) research and fill in the missing details.
Third, I work out the timeline. This might seem like something to do in the outlining process too, but even in the book I did a scene by scene outline, I ended up writing a morning and evening happen out of order.
Last, I work on scene descriptions. I go through and make sure each setting has a few details to make it real and not just a figment of my imagination.
After all this work, I do the first rewrite. And I end up adding a substantial amount of words when I do this. My second draft is much fuller, and a better told story. At this stage, I feel comfortable letting a few people read it. Close reader friends only, of course, because I know it still needs a lot of work. But I will let someone read this draft to get a first initial reaction to the story.
I hope you found this information helpful. I’ll go over my second and third runs in the coming months.
Thank you so much for reading!
I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment or message.