FINISHED

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ladymarella
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FINISHED

Post by ladymarella » December 11th, 2012, 7:54 pm

At 138,501 my first draft of my first novel is FINISHED!!!!! GOing to put it aside for a few weeks before I plunge into the deep waters of editing.
Does anyone have any tips for a first edit before you release it into the hands of your beta readers?
Currently composing a sprawling family saga set in 19th century England
The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and fox-hunters.'- William Shenstone,

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dios4vida
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Re: FINISHED

Post by dios4vida » December 12th, 2012, 11:31 am

CONGRATS!! <cupcakes and confetti!>

As for tips, you're already doing #1 and stepping away for a good while. That's the most important.

Don't let yourself get all doe-eyed remembering the beautiful moment you conceived this particular twist/character/turn of phrase. Be brutal. If you think it should go, 99% of the time it should go. Put it in a separate document called "Cuts" or something like that just in case, but most likely you won't go back to it.

If you find your attention drifting, stop immediately. Go back to the last place you were really paying attention and see what happened there. It might just be that you're going cross-eyed and need a break, but probably something happened (or more likely, didn't happen) that made the story drag. If you start losing interest you can guarantee your reader will, too.

Don't let yourself leave big gaping holes in the plot/character that you know need to be fixed and say "I'll do it later". Make a note and move ahead, sure, but make certain you return to it before giving it to readers.

Conversely, don't let yourself get so hung up on one small detail that isn't perfect you can't continue. Nothing can be perfect, and that includes our prose. If it is grammatically and logically sufficient, but you can't make it any better than that, leave it. Let it stew. The perfect solution may present itself, or a beta may suggest just what you need to bump it up to the level you want it.

Talk things out. If I'm really stuck I'll start explaining the situation to my husband, or the cats, or myself. A good 90% of the time I'll discover that what I was looking for was there the entire time, but something about keeping silent made it invisible or something. The simple act of articulating the problem usually brings its solution along shortly.

Last (I think) but not least, start steeling yourself now. Once you sent the ms out to readers you'll start hearing criticism. It's not easy to hear, no matter how long you've been at this. Just because someone tells you this or that didn't work for them does not mean the novel is drivel, or that you're a horrible writer who should give up now. It just means it didn't work for them. That's all. It's gonna happen. Start working on developing a thick skin (this from someone who has been reduced to tears from well-meaning critiques on more than one occasion, I know it's hard) and train your mind to start figuring out ways to fix the issues without compromising your vision, or learning to identify when it's really fine and you're gonna keep it anyways.

Oh, one more thing: editing is hard. Unless you're one of those "I LOVE TO EDIT" folks, in which case, you are uber lucky. (I love to edit and I hate editing my own novels.) You will get tired, you will get frustrated, you will learn to hate this story before it's over. Stick with it. I promise you it will be worth it. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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polymath
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Re: FINISHED

Post by polymath » December 12th, 2012, 3:49 pm

Edit? Copyedit or proofread? Or revision, rewriting, reworking? A finished raw draft captures a creative inspiration fresh from a creator's mind. The best practice next step is reworking for clarification and concision so that audiences can understand and appreciate a writer's creative vision as the writer intends. How will readers interpret this? Keep that question in mind for small and large and in between pieces and wholes. Prompt focus group readers with the same question and parameters. This is the purpose, function, role of reworking: determining whether a part or piece or whole needs revision or rewriting for concision and clarity's sake.
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Shipple
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Re: FINISHED

Post by Shipple » December 15th, 2012, 6:23 pm

Some people find it really helpful to do a quick, full read-through before even starting the editing process. Then you can get a better picture of how you have things paced and what parts need the most work. It's also helpful to take a few notes while you're doing the read-through.

One thing I did on my last manuscript was I made a chapter by chapter summary and any parts of the chapter that didn't really contribute to the overall story or any chapters that didn't contribute got cut. (For the most part. I probably was too attached to some to cut EVERYTHING extraneous.)
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
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sierramcconnell
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Re: FINISHED

Post by sierramcconnell » December 31st, 2012, 10:57 am

Read through it once while fighting the urge to change things, even grammar things, because you want to look for plot holes. (Ie. OMG I used a magical artifact in chapter three that isn't mentioned ever again...!)

Section it into chapters if it isn't already, take the first chapter, and start making notes of things you notice. (Ie. WTF was I on when I used the phrase "he breathed" a million times. Why are there so many THATs. There are three males and I have no idea who any of them are...)

Once you've gone through each chapter, noting the words\phrases that need to change, filling in any plot holes...you can do the grammar check!

You're going to be sick of the book by the seventh read through...but you want to keep doing this over and over until you can't find any other problems.

Then you submit it to betas, prepare to have your heart ripped out of your chest because THAT IS YOUR PRECIOUS BABBBY.

When you get good crit, note what it was and hang it up. This helps you in the future.

When you get bad crit, it isn't bad. It is constructive. If you feel like defending your precious, STOP. Walk away. Let the message sink in for 24-hrs. You're going to eventually see that in 98.9% of the cases it is correct and you need to change something.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE EVERY CRIT. If you truly don't agree with it, don't change it. If someone else mentions it, seriously think about it. But this is your book. You have control over whether it fails or flies.

Breathe. Look at the good crits and comments and remember why you're doing this.
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The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

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dios4vida
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Re: FINISHED

Post by dios4vida » January 8th, 2013, 12:14 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:Read through it once while fighting the urge to change things, even grammar things, because you want to look for plot holes. (Ie. OMG I used a magical artifact in chapter three that isn't mentioned ever again...!)

Section it into chapters if it isn't already, take the first chapter, and start making notes of things you notice. (Ie. WTF was I on when I used the phrase "he breathed" a million times. Why are there so many THATs. There are three males and I have no idea who any of them are...)

Once you've gone through each chapter, noting the words\phrases that need to change, filling in any plot holes...you can do the grammar check!

You're going to be sick of the book by the seventh read through...but you want to keep doing this over and over until you can't find any other problems.

Then you submit it to betas, prepare to have your heart ripped out of your chest because THAT IS YOUR PRECIOUS BABBBY.

When you get good crit, note what it was and hang it up. This helps you in the future.

When you get bad crit, it isn't bad. It is constructive. If you feel like defending your precious, STOP. Walk away. Let the message sink in for 24-hrs. You're going to eventually see that in 98.9% of the cases it is correct and you need to change something.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE EVERY CRIT. If you truly don't agree with it, don't change it. If someone else mentions it, seriously think about it. But this is your book. You have control over whether it fails or flies.

Breathe. Look at the good crits and comments and remember why you're doing this.
^^ That is some seriously awesome advice. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

ladymarella
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Re: FINISHED

Post by ladymarella » January 8th, 2013, 7:21 pm

Thank you so much everyone! I am starting my read through edits today armed with a notebook to write down all my thoughts on my MS. I have a bit under two months before uni goes back, so hoping to have a good chunk of the editing done by then, so it can be ready mid year for the beta readers.
Currently composing a sprawling family saga set in 19th century England
The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and fox-hunters.'- William Shenstone,

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sierramcconnell
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Re: FINISHED

Post by sierramcconnell » January 9th, 2013, 12:53 pm

dios4vida wrote:^^ That is some seriously awesome advice. :)
Thanks! Now if I could put it into practice... XD I've been sooo lazy.
I'm on Tumblr!

The blog died...but so did I...and now I'm alive again! OMG.

ladymarella
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Re: FINISHED

Post by ladymarella » January 22nd, 2013, 10:18 pm

Thought I;d give you a quick update: I am about 10% through on my read through armed with a big notebook. and surprisingly, it's fun. There is so much to work on; especially as it was not written in order, but i can see the basis is there for it to become something rather good :D
Currently composing a sprawling family saga set in 19th century England
The world may be divided into people that read, people that write, people that think, and fox-hunters.'- William Shenstone,

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