I am trying to collate information on all the things that a writer would do well to apply when he/she gets on to the revision/editing or what some call "Second draft". Few things that I think are of indispensable are toning your characters, dialogues and of course, filling in the gaps in the story. What do you keep in mind while revising?
I try to gauge the tone of the characters. Do they sound different enough? Is there tension or conflict?
I also check the progress of the story. Is the character merely a camera for events (bad) or do they earn their metaphoric spurs (good)? Have I left enough clues so the conclusion won't seem arbitrary or insane?
Above all, I remind myself that the first draft is just the second of many. Antigone's Fall went through seven rewrites. Each one cleaned up many problems and added good material to what I considered a solid foundation.
Nice topic, Shilpa!
7 drafts? That is a lot and congratulations that you did not give up. I have few author friends who tell me that each draft is a better novel and there is a thrill seeing their books getting more polished than before. Earlier I used to get very worried about revising. Now I warming up to it.
Getting a uniform tone for the characters would be a good point during editing especially if they have dramatically changed during the drift draft.
Thank you so much!
Hi Shilpa, this is a timely question for me as I'm getting ready to edit my manuscript next week. (Setting it aside for two weeks to approach it with a fresh pair of eyes.)
The very first thing I'm going to focus on is cutting out the first several pages of chapter one. I decided to pluck a sentence from my last chapter and turn it into the very first sentence of my manuscript. I want to "hit the ground running" and I realized I have too much back story in the beginning pages. Putting the back story in the proper part of the story is really going to make the difference.
I'll also need to read the dialogue out loud. I realized a long time ago I don't often write the way I speak. So, after I'm done writing the dialogue, I go back and make sure it sounds like an actual person is speaking!
That is a very interesting approach. I think you have made great plans for the book! I tend to write a lot of back story too in the first chapter and result is a bored reader. "Hitting the ground running" does indeed sound exciting both as an author and most importantly, as a reader.
Thank you and great points!
Tracy, chapter one is my top priority too. That's where you lose or hold your reader.
The first thing I edit for is typos. I simply scan/read the book over quickly to catch as many typos as possible. Not only are they annoying but agents/publishers will not go past the point to even consider your book for representation/publishing. Therefore, catching typos are really important to me.
The second thing I look for is grammar and mechanics. It is one of the major problems I have, so I look for this specifically the second time.
Then in the third and final draft is to check the story line. Check for anything that bothered me and see if it works. Usually, after I check it, I would give it to a friend first who's familiar with it but will give me some of the harsh truth. Then I hand it over to an editor to make sure everything flows perfectly and for proofreading.
For more suggestions about editing, check out this post of mine: http://teacherwritebookaholicohmy.blogspot.com/2011/07/tips-and-tri...
I have usually heard it the other way round. Get your story right. Then look for grammar and then look for typos. It is interesting to see that you do it other way. But come to think of it - By getting the typos right, we are eliminating an important and easiest roadblock first making way for other important tasks.
Thanks for the URL. I will check for more suggestions.
I've never really thought of doing it the other way around. I just hate seeing typos in my book, so I just corrected it first. But just like you said, I like to get the easy stuff out of the way first, then work on the harder stuff later. And reading or scanning over my book while checking for the errors gives me an idea plot flow and how the story comes across. So it makes sense that way for me.
I hope that link works for you! I wish I can think of some more but I can't think of any. :P Anyway, glad I can help.
For my own cleanup, I follow the precepts set forth in The 10% Solution, by Ken Rand. It's done wonders for my ability to write tight text. Even so, writers need editors to look at their work. I hired one and if I'd had the funds, I'd have hired a proofreader, as well (different jobs). It needn't be expensive (barter is not uncommon), but I think it really is needed.