Monday, April 10, 2006

First drafts are garbage

Did that get your attention? Hope so.

There was a bit of a mention on Harlequin's subcare about how perhaps quickly written manuscripts need to be examined more deeply. This particular person is prolific and obviously talented as is shown by the vast number of requests she receives. But she was a bit down because she keeps getting asked and asked to revise.

I've actually fallen a little bit in love with the whole edit/revise process. Now if someone had told me even a year ago that I'd say that, I'd have laughed my big round ass off. But over the course of the last 3 books...and endless edits, I actually ENJOY it.

I used to write a whole book, then go through and "edit". And send it off.

Then I got a cp. I wrote, changed the big things that she sent back in the chapters, wrote the whole book, and then I'd "edit". "Edit" means basically what I'd consider a polish now.

Then I got editorial feedback. And I got a second cp. And for the last 3+ projects, I write a first draft. Then I revise based on CP suggestions. And we're talking inserting scenes, deleting scenes, changing POV, brainstorming, layering in STUFF. Subtantial edits. I get to the end with a fairly complete book. Then I go through and edit some more. More layering. More cutting for pace. More making sure motivations are clear. THEN I go through again and polish - things like word repetitions, etc. I read it out loud. I change places where I break paragraphs.

All told, I probably write the first draft in less time than I spend editing.

The good news? By the time I get to the polish stage, I'm reading along and going WOW. This isn't half bad. LOL Happened while I was struggling with adding words to AAF last week. That book was like pulling teeth trying to write it and I just wanted it DONE but revisiting it...I read it and realized all the agony and editing paid off. It's a decent piece of work.

The longer I go on the more I realize that strong editing is CRUCIAL to the success of the book. And revisions happen to every writer. Some books require more than others, but everyone has an editor who wants things changed. So embrace editing! Your characters, plot, and editor will thank you.


  1. Embrace Editing??? Can I have a run into that????

  2. I am sitting here with a wide smile on my face, remembering when you said that even the thought of revising depressed you. Good books are not written, they are rewritten. I find that to be a very comforting fact indeed.