Rough draft is done, now what?

Twistedlemon

The American
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
212
Someone who writes by the seat of their pants, they create the story as they write no plotting. Planning ruins their creativity and bogs them down.
 

Droflet

I don't teach chickens how to dance.
Joined
Apr 15, 2010
Messages
3,856
Location
Australia
Okay then, I'm not a pantsy. I always have a rough track to follow until the story tells me differently. Horses for course, I guess.
 

Susan Boulton

The storyteller
Joined
Mar 15, 2006
Messages
2,039
Read it through. Make notes. Add sections. Take sections out. Repeat, and repeat again. Then get a number of people to beta read it. Make edits accordingly. Leave for a couple of months. Read it through. Make notes. Add sections. Take sections out. If you can find the money hire an editor like Teresa, or Boneman to do an edit. Deal with the plot holes, errors etc the edit throws up. Read it through again.
 

Michael Coorlim

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
135
Location
Chicago
Okay, here's what I do:
  • Spend a few weeks or a month worldbuilding, developing characters, and plotting.
  • Write the rough draft. This goes fast because I already know who is doing what and why, though I freely deviate from my outline as the need arises or if I come up with better ideas.
  • Ignore it for a month. Write something else.
  • Come back. Read it over aloud. Make notes as to what needs fixing.
  • Evaluate each scene for sufficient conflict, tension, etc. Cut whatever you can trim away without damaging the story. Keep it lean. Sometimes I'll slice away as much as 1/3 of what I've written.
  • Pretty it up a bit. Add description as needed. General polish. Put meat on those bones.
  • Give it to my first reader. See if she likes it, if it makes sense.
  • Fix whatever needs fixing.
  • Send a copy to a proofreader.
  • Fix whatever needs fixing.
  • Send to agents, editors, or just upload it to Amazon.
 

Twistedlemon

The American
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
212
@Susan Boulton I think taking notes is understated in its importantance. Newer writers like myself might forget a mental note to change a scene when they read it through.
  • Evaluate each scene for sufficient conflict, tension, etc. Cut whatever you can trim away without damaging the story.

By far the BIGGEST issue I have had with anything not related to grammar is creating tension. The more and more I edit I can make the energy and words of the scene crackle with it. Very few newer writers understand the importance of this. I'll hold this up to the established, why and how would a writer create tension in their scenes? Maybe even delve into diffrent forms of tension?
 

thaddeus6th

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
7,022
Location
UK, Yorkshire
What I do varies according to whether I'm writing something serious (which has many POVs) or comedic (which is almost 100% from Sir Edric's dubious perspective).

For the serious stuff I try to ensure the plot flows well, gaps in storyline are filled, and everything knits together. After that, I'll try and improve the overall writing quality and hammer it into shape for beta readers.

Because the comedy is all from one perspective there's rarely a substantial plot issue, so I'll just try and get it into fit state to be seen by a beta reader. I also tend to send off comedy chapter-by-chapter as I write it, whereas serious stuff (if possible) I'll send when it's all done in a larger lump.

After beta readers have suggested changes, I make necessary changes, and go through the hell of proof-reading.
 

Twistedlemon

The American
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
212
The genre of comedy does tend to have a diffrent series of challenges, others may not enable you to send for beta as you write.
 

thaddeus6th

Well-Known Member
Supporter
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
7,022
Location
UK, Yorkshire
Another nice advantage is that even if you have to junk a large section (which I may have to) you can scavenge the one-liners for later use with little difficulty.
 

AnyaKimlin

Confuddled
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
6,099
Location
North Scotland
If I double my word count in the editing phase more power to me I guess. But I feel more confident on it's pre hardcore edit length now. Thanks!

I was confident enough that Mayhem was done and dusted at 56,000 words to do the first round of sending it out to agents. But then as I was waiting I wrote the second story and realised I could improve the first. Next draft was about 70,000 words. Once it got to 92,000 words and the beautiful people here helped sort out my synopsis, then agents started to show enough of an interest to give me rave comments and tell me why they weren't taking it on. I'm now on rewrite 14 (six years on I know I can create a much better story and write it better) - and as I have 46 scenes planned I doubt it will be in under 100,000 words. Part of that is the decision to self publish, because I can put back in a number of elements I took out to make it more marketable to agents and publishers, but that I feel make for a much better story and that the YA beta reading my story loved. As well as being more than double in length of the very first draft it has about a third of the number of characters and more than half the number of sub plots.

When I rewrite a story I know, a world I know and a character I know there is more I know about everything to tell the reader and that doesn't mean infodumps it means the little things like the kind of mug he keeps his favourite ginger tea in, or just what Robbie Albatross on the front of his t-shirt looks like, how a big man feels and thinks squeezing through a window, the nature of the Kelpy Liquor they drink, just how heavy he is and down to the last mm how tall he is, what his PC Pocket does that little bit more. There's a lot more immersion in the world and character. And whilst it might only be an extra 100 words or so a scene it's a lot of words over a whole book.
 
Last edited:

AnyaKimlin

Confuddled
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
6,099
Location
North Scotland
My best plot twists come with 500 wood sprints. Write as fast as I can in 15 mins :D.

I can get 1200 words in 20 minutes ;) Basically as fast as I type.

My comedy is good enough for BBC Scotland to class me in the top 20 new comedy writers (although as they commissioned Mountain Goats...) and actually I find beta readers (or rather the listeners) vital for honing the comedic element even in novels because you get the audience reaction and facial expressions.

My favourite thing to do is read my story out to a group of mostly over 50s non sff readers. It's not the genre most go for and some will not ever like what I write. However, when they are understanding my work and starting to be vaguely interested in what is going on or not switching off then I know the scene is right. And that has added some words. (They're also great as they include engineers, a retired nurse, ex military, someone with knowledge of distilling, former teachers etc and it's ready built in research).
 

Ray McCarthy

Sentient Marmite: The Truth may make you fret.
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
8,090
Location
The Mid West (of Ireland)
My initial draft is limited really by my typing speed, I use initially a text editor rather than obtrusive WP. Even later when edit/rewrite I have left justify rather than fully justify (I use named styles to easily change versions for different deliveries, and left allows eBook Readers to use fully or Left), so as to easily see a double space and not have the text jiggling as I edit.
 

Twistedlemon

The American
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
212
@AnyaKimlin i can't even Imagine editing this for six years. One thing you mentioned is details without info dumping. A lot of new writers don't even know they're info dumping in their intros.

@Ray McCarthy that is pretty clever, you never know how it might look in ebook format after you're done.

@thaddeus6th new writers may feel uncomfortable taking out large sections. It's important that if they do so, they can utilize certain points of it or in your case, the one liners :)
 

Michael Coorlim

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
135
Location
Chicago
Yeah, my typing speed limits me to around 1-1.5k words an hour. I've heard great things about speed with dictation software, though, and I keep meaning to give that a try next time I'm working on a rough draft.
 

Twistedlemon

The American
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
Messages
212
I love to talk as much as the next guy. But even I would get exhausted for talking for hours on end.
 

Ray McCarthy

Sentient Marmite: The Truth may make you fret.
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
8,090
Location
The Mid West (of Ireland)
you never know how it might look in ebook format after you're done
I test creation (via HTML) of mobi (Amazon) and ePub (Kobo and Adobe) formats. I then test those on a real Kindle and real Kobo as well as PC reader and android apps. For POD I format exactly as per page size and export as PDF.

I make sure the images, tables, lists, Table Of Contents work on 4" android to 9.7" Kindle eInk and in monochrome.

Nothing clever involved. The only thing I haven't tested is Apple iBook format, but it has a small share and iOS and OSX both have Kindle app, Kobo app and Adobe Digital Reader, no-one actually *needs* iBooks
 

Ray McCarthy

Sentient Marmite: The Truth may make you fret.
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
8,090
Location
The Mid West (of Ireland)
I've heard great things about speed with dictation software,
Overhyped.
It needs huge practice and training as spoken English is a different language and talking isn't the same as writing. You can't listen to music or radio while you work, or take out phone / netbook and type/edit in noisy room. Also speech recognition needs a lot of proof reading afterwards, nothing like as good as good human audio typist. Some authors like dictation. But it's another skill. Of course if you get bad with arthritis or something then computer voice recognition is a lot cheaper than an audio typist.
 

AnyaKimlin

Confuddled
Joined
Sep 21, 2011
Messages
6,099
Location
North Scotland
@AnyaKimlin i can't even Imagine editing this for six years. One thing you mentioned is details without info dumping. A lot of new writers don't even know they're info dumping in their intros.

I haven't just edited Mayhem. I've recently catalogued my hard drive for Emergents (Scottish creative charity), apparently in that time I've drafted 11 novels, 3 novellas, a kinky piece, a junior fiction, a series of stories for young readers and completed a sit com pilot. Also done an unspecified number of poems and shorts. And written a handful of comedy sketches.

It's only an info dump if it's boring. If you make it interesting they'll call it exposition. But my novel is first present so doesn't lend itself to a lot of information dumping.

What I'm trying to say, especially if you pants, just see what happens. It might surprise you.
 

Similar threads


Top