Monday, December 12, 2011

This past week has been a lot of firsts for me...

First flat tire
First time eating at Five Guys restaurant (most awesome burger place ever!)
First time seeing Muppets Christmas Carol
First time editing a first draft from a printed version

I've had first drafts before. I can thank five years of doing NaNoWriMo for that. But this is the draft that has gone further than all other drafts, and so I feel it's a new level of editing for me. It's also the largest first draft I've ever written, which makes the task that much more exciting and daunting.

I outlined this novel for a long time and planned out every process of how I was going to write it. And the planning worked well. But now I'm realizing I have not planned out a single bit of how I'm going to go about making it better.

After doing some research online and listening to some friends' advice, here's my battle plan:

1. Read through casually without making any editing marks, but take notes on my most common mistakes.
2. Come up with a way to remedy those mistakes and write the second draft focusing only on those.

Do any of my readers have experience with editing first drafts? Got any advice for me?

I'll let you know how it goes. Also, even though some people might argue that editing manuscripts is the same on a computer screen as it is on the printed page, if nothing else having my entire novel printed out somehow seems empowering. The words are there, unchangeable. My story is now permanent. Looking at printed pages also enables me to make notes with fancy calligraphy pens. That's something you can't do on a computer screen.

Jo's Finished Manuscript
(This scene from Little Women is what I've always dreamed my manuscript would look like one day)

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