If anyone ever saw the first draft of my first book they would have been horrified. Following the advice of others, I never edited as I went. Instead, I wrote gibberish but I was happy as long as I got the story out. Riddled with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, editing that draft was the single most grueling task I have encountered since deciding to publish. It was miserable, and if you don’t believe me scroll back on my Twitter feed and you will see how many times I complained about it. Believe me, it was bad.
It’s all a learning process…
Everything I have worked on over the last year has been a learning process. From building my own website and starting social media accounts, to editing and formatting my books I have had to google, research and rely on others for help. (A quick thank you to all who have endured my numerous questions.) As time has gone by I’ve coming to learn what works for some, doesn’t work for me. The dirty, awful, no good, very bad first draft that took me what felt like months to edit, wasn’t working. That’s when I started to listen to the advice of others. The ones who don’t shout from the rooftops the “right way” to be a writer. It was the mention of it in a podcast, then another mention in a blog post, finally the topic that came up in a video I watched. Slowly but surely I learned not all writers wait to edit. Many of them do it as they go. Most of the ones who do, just happen to be a Pantser like I am.
Editing while writing…
Since I don’t plot and outline my books I don’t usually know what is going to happen next. This means I have no choice sometimes but to go back to previous chapters and rewrite a scene or even name a unnamed character. It’s never bothered me to do that but what I didn’t realize is I was already editing as I went. Editing has multiple steps and I am by no means a expert so I won’t try talking about it here. However, there are a lot of resources online if you’re looking. If you have been following along for a while then you know I have a contemporary romance series that has already been written. I am working on revisions and edits. Needless to say all of my first drafts are pretty messy but with book 2, titled Unstoppable, I made edits as I was revising. Let me just tell you, it made a world of a difference.
The Final Read Through
I feel that every time a writer reads through their story they should enjoy it. I’m currently doing my final read through for Unstoppable and I genuinely love the story. Which is a great feeling! I’m sure I will have changes once my beta readers get their hands on it but I can honestly say it feels good to have a finished product I’m so proud of. Each time I revised it or made changes it continued to get better and that’s the way it should be. I know not every book will go this way, I’m sure I will have a love, hate relationship with some of my characters but for now I’m pleased, and I’ll take it.
If you are a writer how did your final read through go? Were you in love with your story or did you feel like it still needed a lot of work?
4 thoughts on “A Clean First Draft”
I love the way how realistically it’s written. Really love these words:
“As time has gone by I’ve come to learn what works for some, doesn’t work for me…”
It’s so relatable n insightful. I have been throu’ such edges of dilemma many times… n when my mind is not working, it’s worth googling things around or to discuss w/ others. And sometimes, having conversation w/ others does really help us all answering to our questions, undisguised.
Niely blogged, Nikki. Looking forward to ur latest posts n work. Keep it up!
Thank you! As in all things in life this writing thing has been a lot of trial and error!
I absolutely edit as I go, but at the same time, I don’t harp on making it perfect before moving on. I know that I’m coming back to these pages anyway, to expand, to make clearer, to change words so I don’t use the same adjective three times on a page… It’s a balance. My first draft is better than many published books I’ve picked up and discarded, but it’s also far from complete. Continuity errors alone require a draft or two!
I wish I had thought that threw a year ago when I started these things. But I will say making the changes even in my first set of revisions has been a massive help!