Friday, July 6, 2012

What now?

It's been a week now since I finished the first draft of Sidewalks, and it hasn't been far from my mind.  I've done a read through of the entire manuscript and was pleasantly surprised to discover it isn't quite the mess I thought it was.  There's some pacing issues, and my MC's character arc isn't quite as satisfying as I'd like it to be, but overall I enjoyed reading it.

Which is actually pretty unusual...

So what now?

I was going to leave it for a few more weeks before jumping into revisions, but I'm kind of bursting with ideas for them and want to get started.  I know I should leave it longer to marinate, and I will at least until I manage to catch up on all the beta reading I've promised people.  But then I will start the revision process.

First up, an outline.  Because I'm a total pantser when I write first drafts, I don't have one already.  So the first part of revising is to draw up a fairly detailed chapter by chapter outline.  This helps me see where the pacing is off and whether all the major plot points occur at the right times.  it also helps me to see the character arcs and to make sure they are paced appropriately.

Once I have an outline I'm happy with, I can get down to the nitty gritty and revise each chapter so it fits the outline and the story plays out the way I want it to.  Then we get into the more detailed editing where I iron out stylistic wrinkles like overused words and images and make sure the prose sings the way I like it to.

The it's off to the critique group where I'm sure I will be given excellent suggestions on how to make it even better.

But for now, even though I'm itching to get started, I'm going to ignore that little voice in my head and get on with reading for other people.

What's your revision process like?


  1. I've revised right away when needed to meet a deadline and I've also let manuscripts sit. Right now I'm revising one that sat for over a month. I like to go through and revise for overall plot first. Then I'll break down other revisions for things like consistency, pace, passage of time, etc.

  2. It's good to wait at least a couple of weeks if you can from the last time you worked on a draft. I always need to tighten and trim. so look for places to do that.

  3. I think that if your heart is in it, even if you just finished the draft, that it's okay to start in on edits. Do it while you are motivated. There will always be later, when you are totally burnt out, and then you can let it marinate.
    I love your outline idea as I am a pantser and need to do this sort of thing, as well.

  4. Removing myself from a manuscript helps me become more clear headed about it and not so emotional.