Finished the First Draft

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Finished the First Draft

Once you have poured your heart and soul onto the page, you can’t help dreaming this manuscript could be a best seller. I think most writers have that thought cross their mind each time they type The End.

Before you start planning on spending the millions your book is going to make, you need to do a couple of things first.

  1. Set the work aside for a week to a month, depending on how impatient you are. Let things settle in your mind, work on another piece of writing or an outline for a new story. Do not touch what you just finished, no matter how great the urge.

Tic-toc. Tic-toc. Tic-toc.

  1. Time has passed. Pick up the manuscript you finished and read it. Keep a notebook handy, because you will find things that need to be fixed. Whether it’s punctuation, grammar, or plot holes. Make note of these problems.

Once you’ve read through the story and made your notes, start making changes. I know it’s a royal pain, but before you send it out to your beta readers, you want to give them something good to read.

Do not delude yourself and think what you wrote is fine as it is. No one writes a perfect first draft.

Do a line by line edit, check each sentence. Check your dialogue tags and action tags. Avoid info dump; reading several paragraphs of back-story will bore the reader. If background information is necessary, work it in via dialogue or minimal flashbacks of the character. Don’t get carried away. Cut the laundry lists of descriptions. We don’t need to know every piece of furniture in the room or what color the carpet or walls are. The reader wants you to get on with the action.

To help with your editing, I recommend a program called SmartEdit, which has a version that works in MS Word.

Here’s what it checks for:

Repeated Phrases List
Repeated Words List
Adverb Usage List
Monitored Words List
Redundancies List
Dialog Tag Counter
Cliché List
Separate Dialog & Prose Checks
Misused Word List
Foreign Phrase Usage List
Profanity Usage List
Suspect Punctuation List
Proper Nouns List
Acronyms List
Sentence Start List
Sentence Length Graph
Smart & Straight Quote Checker
Dash and Hyphen Checker
Word, Character & Page Count

The Adverbs use list is a great one to help find and remove them.

Once you’ve gone through your manuscript, send it off to your beta readers. While they are busy ripping, I mean reading your story, keep yourself busy by writing short fiction or outlining a new book. Don’t stop writing. Keep that creative muscle in shape.

May the words ever flow!

About Anna Dobritt

Anna Dobritt is an independent eBook author and an indie publisher of RPG PDFs and fantasy maps through Cartography Unlimited for RPGs. She loves to read and write, and lives in Michigan. Anna enjoys watching Dr. Who, both the classic episodes from the 1960s-1980s and the current episodes. Anna has three trilogies in the queue: Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe – Volume 1: The Beginning has been released, and Volume 2: Discovery, is going through the editing and revision process, with plans to self-publish in 2016. Volume 3: Truth is currently being written. Two other trilogies are The Archivist — Lenara Lenquil Adventures, and the Guardian Blades Trilogy. Anna has self-published Volume 1 of the Ravynwyng Chronicles Universe titled The Beginning; three short stories: The Hunter, First Raven, Raven Voice; a novelette titled Raven Flight, and a collection of short fiction titled Whispers from Within. Where the imagination soars on glowing wings! May the words ever flow!
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8 Responses to Finished the First Draft

  1. lovessiamese says:

    Reblogged this on TheKingsKidChronicles and commented:
    Here is excellent advice on what to do with your completed first draft, and how to go about the editing process. I’m keeping this info handy!

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    More great advice and a useful editing tool from Anna to help reduce what your Editor will find 😃

  3. C.E.Robinson says:

    Anna, great words of writer wisdom! Thanks! Christine

  4. Excellent advice!
    Though I’d say hold off as long as you can when rewriting a draft. (A month is minimum for one of my books, six weeks is better, but everybody is different.) If I only give it a week, I end up writing plot holes that you could drive a truck through. By distancing myself from the work, I can forget a few things and then the characters can become more natural or realize I have the wrong point of view characters so the reader knows what is necessary, not just me. (Dang God-like Author Knowledge gets me every time 😉 )

  5. macjam47 says:

    Excellent advice. I will check out SmartEdit.

  6. I think leaving writing once finished (well, before another edit) is unwritten law, especially the longer it is. We get so immersed in the world it’s tough to be subjective at all, in a good or bad way.

  7. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Here are some great tips from Anna Dobritt on what to do once you finish your first draft.

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