The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.
– Robert Cormier

So you’ve put in the work, committed to and met your target words per day, structured your plot, mastered dialogue and now you sit with your fledgling novel wondering what to do next.  And the simple, but painful, truth is that now you start rewriting.

I’ve seen it compared to the process of building a house. The first draft should aim to lay the foundations and to give structure, to have made some choices from the vast array of options open to you. To continue the analogy how many bedrooms and bathrooms are you planning – for which you can read chapters, characters, crisis points etc – where are you going to put the front door and kitchen. The work of rewriting involves taking a step back from your first draft and looking for all of those areas that don’t quite work – at risk of overworking the analogy, did you get the plumbing, electrics and windows installed in the right place to service the room plan and allow you to get from front to back door? What do you need to do to move your first rough draft to something that is ready to publish?

At this point I should also say that not everybody works by finishing the first draft and then going back to start rewriting.  You may prefer to work by writing in sections and then doing the rewrites on each section immediately so that you finish that part before moving on to any others. Whichever works for you, the principal is the same.

It can be difficult to be truly objective about something that is very important to you. It pays to be honest with yourself about whether you are going to be able to do it. And there are options available to you if the answer is no.

  • Is there somebody you know whose opinion you value and who you can trust to give an honest review? Again, be honest here, there is no point in asking somebody who is only going to say good things about your work – much as we all love getting positive feedback.
  • You can consider employing the services of an editor, which will make impartial feedback much easier to get but costs money. You may prefer to save budget until you’ve done some of the work yourself and can get the maximum benefit from a professional review.
  • How about joining a writing/reading/critique group? A group of people going through the same process as yourself, fully aware of how difficult it can be to receive negative feedback – while inviting it on their own work – who will be supportive but honest.

There’s no right and wrong approach – all of them are about improving your draft and your chances of being successful – who doesn’t want to do that?

Tags: ,

Leave A Reply (No comments so far)

No comments yet

Grab your FREE copy 

- How to overcome your fears, take the plunge and write your first book!

We respect your email privacy