I finished my first draft just after New Year. I hit my goal of over 80,000 words, and printed out 153 sides of A4, back to back. I have to admit that I’m slightly terrified of this next step!
The First Edit!
There’s something nice and freeing about just writing whatever comes into your head. First drafts are supposed to be pretty dreadful really (Anne Lamott uses another word!). Stephen King talks about writing your first draft with the door closed. No one else needs to see it except for you. Established writers even arrange a clause in their will to have any current first drafts destroyed at time of death.
However, eventually the time comes when you need to prepare your manuscript for the big wide world. Will anyone else want to read what you’ve written? Is the story exciting and coherent? Is the language descriptive enough but not so descriptive as to be boring? Will anyone think it’s any good?
King suggests leaving the first draft to one side for about six weeks until you become sufficiently detached from it to have the courage to start chopping things out. I just couldn’t bring myself to do that. I managed about one week!
At the moment I’m working on the following:
- correcting any typos that spring out at me, although I’m not yet doing a proper proof read
- marking the places where I need to check facts or do extra research
- reading it all through fairly quickly to get a feel for how a first time reader might follow the story
- checking consistency with dates and names
Once I’ve made all those changes the next job will be to ‘open the door’ and allow my husband and a few other key people to read it.
My head is also swirling with ideas of whom to approach for a professional edit, how to get a professional cover design and how much that is all going to cost!
Still, it’s all very exciting, and I hope to be able to announce more about the book very soon!