Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Novel: Next Step

I've been a good girl and already waited two weeks since finishing my novel's first draft on July 29. My goal was to wait until September 1, trying to forget all about it in the meantime. But I'm having a hard time not thinking about it, and I'm getting impatient.

I've been very good about not looking at the draft at all, but I can't not think about the story. This is my first novel, so I'm trying to read as much as I can about writing, and specifically the first read-through and revision of a first draft. And since I'm reading so much about that, naturally my story comes to mind. All the time.

But still, I'm being good about not peeking at the draft. I haven't peeked once. So it'll just be like rereading a book I'm familiar with, but haven't actually read in a while. Like The Goose Girl. I'm reading that for the third time. It's been a while, and of course I'm copying down bits of prose I love into a list, so while I always loved the story I'm noticing more about the writing this time. (Which is kind of funny, because Shannon Hale's prose is a large part of what made me want to be a writer.)

Anyway, about my revision. I'm reading a lot about revising, so maybe by the time I get to it I'll have absorbed a lot of helpful information. Still, I like lists, especially for things that are both daunting and exciting to me, and I like hoarding information (anyone else making a list of bits of prose that inspires them?), so I'm trying to make a checklist so I can make sure I don't miss anything while I revise.

I'm not an expert. But this is my game-plan-in-progress. I'll let you know in September (or earlier if I get too impatient) how well it worked for me.

  1. Print all bajillion pages of manuscript.
  2. Read through, ready with colored pens and a spiral notebook. On manuscript, mark glaring errors, inconsistencies, questions, comments, and anything confusing, using some predetermined system of symbols and colors. Number each note. In notebook, expand upon note if necessary. Continue on with reading.
  3. At the end, consider overall impression of book, as if I were a reader, new to the story. Consider:
    • Pacing: Too slow? Too fast? All over the place?
    • Characters: Strong? Weak? Obnoxious? Flat?
    • Plot: Predictable? Compelling? Confusing? Logical? Too complicated? Too simple?
    • Dialogue/prose: Too stiff? Too flowery? Too informal? Any cliches?
    • Overall: Any characters or subplots not developed enough? Any unnecessary? Any holes anywhere? Anything just seem off?
  4. Back in Scrivener, address the marked issues.

Then onto the more micro revisions and edits.

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