This will be me for the next few weeks as I whip out my editorial lightsaber and set to work on my MS, hacking and slicing and hopefully not severing any vital limbs. Because of course I have an editorial lightsaber. (I do not have an editorial lightsaber.)
But that's right - this means that the first draft of my new MS is complete.
This MS has been so far out of my comfort zone that it's taken me a lot longer to complete this draft than any other manuscript to date. It's been...*counts fingers* about 6 months. In that time I've changed the POV, completely reworked my characters, fixed lots of significant plot details, and changed the title about 4 times (this happened early on because I hate not having an 'official' WIP title.) Next time, I'm going easier on myself. (Yeah, right.)
What a first draft looks like for me
- Full of plot holes the size of moon craters. If a new plot thread occurs to me several chapters after the point where I should have introduced it, I won't necessarily go back and write that in when I'm trudging through a first draft - I'll make a handwritten note to 'go back to ch14 and add in the bit where Miss Schwarz says something creepy about Sky knowing where her missing son might be', and then continue writing as though that's already been added in. The joining and smoothing out of the new thread will happen in the next draft.
- One hot mess of cliches. The reason things like the waking up intro or the awkward girl moves to new town plot device or the hot new boy walks into class scene have become cliche is because they have been proven to work. That intro puts you right into the MC's head. That plot device lets you throw in the conflict right away. That hot new boy scene lets you see him through the MC's eyes. BUT, they're cliches. I don't want my writing to be riddled with the same things other writers have used over and over and over again. So these will also be given some stern treatment during editing.
- The black hole of adverbs, clunk, and other no-nos for slick writing. Some I'll catch when I'm editing, some my CPs will school me on, and some will inevitably make it through the editing gauntlet to be face-palmed over later.
Next comes the part most writers groan about: the dreaded revisions. But for me, editing is a relief. This MS is a complete thing now, no matter what I do to it, so there's a certain freedom in that. I'm allowed to step back, squint at it critically, and push it around like a mean Jedi.
Then I'll run back to it with bandages and lollipops and promise never to be mean again if it will just play nicely and be good.
So between now and my beta deadline in a couple of weeks, that's what I'll be doing. Wish me luck!
What do your first drafts look like? Got any wicked techniques that might help me with my editing? PLEASE TO SHARE.