View Full Version : You've written the first draft: Now what?

10-19-2006, 10:26 PM
I was inspired by Jenna's first draft thread to think about my whole writing process (thanks, Jenna!).

So you've got a first draft down...now what do you do? How do you get from a first draft to the final copy?

10-19-2006, 10:28 PM
For me, I find I have to let the rough draft sit for a couple days. After I write it, I put it away and forget about it. This gives my mind time to process what I've written, so then when I go back in a few days to revise, I can look at it with fresh eyes. :)

10-19-2006, 10:31 PM
I don't know, because I'm not truly finished any of my novels, and won't be until they are published by a commercial, reputable publisher.

10-19-2006, 11:07 PM
I take a week off, forget about writing for a while, then run through it to tighten up the prose, make notes about plot problems along the way, fix plot problems. Then it's done.

10-20-2006, 12:37 AM
I leave it alone for five minutes. I touch it up. I close the file. I open it again and read through it. I vow not to look at it for at least a day. I can't help myself. I edit. And then I edit/rewrite some more.

Eventually, when I'm sure I'm done with it (I never really am), I send it to my online critique group. After a few days have gone by, I'll read the critiques line by line and make changes if necessary.

I'll usually keep poking at it till it's time to submit. Eventually... eventually... I do let go.

10-20-2006, 01:18 AM
Start on the next one. After a week, I go back and read through the one I just finished, edit anything I see that needs edit, send it off to one of my alpha readers to make sure everything makes sense and such. I haven't had a problem yet, but still it's good to know. Then I start reading it a paragraph at a time, make sure none of them are awkward and flow smoothly.

Then I read it backwards so I can spot individual flaws.

All during the while I am working on that next WIP.

Then I send it off to a beta reader, mine aren't very good, but they do tell me if it holds their attention, if I lose them anywhere, if there are any stupid mistakes and if anything stumbles them. After that, I go over it again and start submitting, and working toward finishing the next one. If I get a rejection if there aren't any suggestions to work on it, I touch up the query and send it out to the next company on the list. Rinse, Lather, Repeat.

You will find that everyone has their own version of doing things and that is how it's best I think. Find the best way that works for you and run with it. I am going to check out http://www.hollylisle.com/fm/Workshops/one-pass-revision.html and read it in depth as the less editing I'm stuck doing the better, I hate doing it but it is a necessary evil in this line of work.

Histry Nerd
10-20-2006, 01:36 AM
For a short work, I'll let it sit for a day or less before going over it at least once, preferably twice or more (but I have a bad habit of doing short stuff on a short timeline, so I don't always have the time I should for editing). I don't generally use readers for short stuff, so when I think it's good enough, I send it.

For my not-yet-published novel, I let the first draft sit about six weeks before I started the second. Second draft took me six or seven months, followed by a round of readers who I gave about two months. Third draft took me about six weeks, and I'm submitting now and trying not to look at it. The first draft of the sequel is already written (I accidentally wrote a trilogy), but I'm avoiding that as well while I draft an unrelated story. This one should take about two months, then I'll start the edits for book 2.

I'm hoping it works.

Have a [insert preferred superlative here] day.

10-20-2006, 09:29 PM
I roll right into the next one.

My first drafts have to sit for at least a month before I can look at them objectively.

Then I gut it.

Simon Woodhouse
10-20-2006, 11:14 PM
If it's the first draft of a novel, then I write another novel before I go back and look at it. This usually means a gap of between six and nine months. After I've re-written the first novel (and this is usually a total re-write, so that's another six months), I then look at the second one again. This system works well for me, but at the moment it's in a bit of a mess because I've got three projects circulating through the works.

10-20-2006, 11:19 PM
I'll go work on something else for a bit, so when I go back to it, I can read it with fresh eyes and that makes it easier for me to correct the first draft as a reader...I get me knife out and kill my darlings. :D