Monday, June 29, 2009

First draft is done ... now what?

I've finished the first draft of my work-in-progress. It's about 6,000 words of near-future sci-fi. On the first draft, I simply tried to get it all out on paper without much attention paid to the language I used or whether I happened to write in a contradiction here or there. If it worked, I left it and moved on because if I worry about the details in this stage, I never reach "the end."

So, now onto the first rewrite: a macroedit. This is the time I focus on the big things: plot holes, inconsistencies and contradictions, character mistakes and such. I'll work on making the overall package a more believable whole, so a reader doesn't stop and say, "Wait a minute, that doesn't make sense."

The second rewrite will be the microedit. I'll look at individual sentences to fix grammar, tighten the language and replace weak words with better ones. The goal in this rewrite is to cut the story's length by 10 percent while not losing anything important in the process.

And after that, the story will go off to critique, to be ripped apart by a group of well-meaning writers. Whatever they say will go into rewrite No. 3.

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