Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The First Read

Last night I started reading my first draft. There are too many things to mark, so I am trying to leave the pages mostly blank for now (except for glaring time problems; I'm not even marking typos because hell, this or that whole scene may not exist in the next draft). I want to see if I can read an intact story in there somewhere, already telling myself, 'this crap has to go' in several places, and also knowing there needs to be some 'background' of something; the more I read contemporary novels, the more I *fully* realize that there has to be *something* besides the basic story, something that is woven into the plot to make it different than other novels. So I'm reading through my own draft, going, Yup, here's a good place to put something that's actually interesting...LOL.

I've got about halfway through it so far, and may finish reading tonight. Then I'm going to write down all the scenes (I didn't even separate into chapters during the first draft) to see how they can be arranged, deleted, added to to make the story better, and to see what really needs to be infused to make it something worth reading (right now it's yes, a story,'s boring, ya know? it's like all the other unpublished boring pieces out there that aren't getting published because...well you know why!)

And I can't tell you how many sentences are making me cringe. I mean, too many to mark. I know at this point that the best thing to do is not an "Edit," but a COMPLETE REWRITE. It will be much better this way. And to be honest, I'm happy that I'm working through my ideas/scenes ahead of time for the next project. I want to have most of my scenes identified, major plot points, etc., so I can start better. I know I still won't have a perfect first draft, but now that I know I can write 100k words in a few months if I put my mind to it, now it's time to start making those first 100k words better.

I estimate I'll be reading and writing down scenes/thinking about rearrangements and that special quirk that will need to exist in my manuscript the rest of this week, and next week will begin the rewriting phase, which will probably last through November (I start my next project on the 1st of that month) and part of December, at least. Then it will be time for another read and the dreaded handing of disks or manuscripts to family members who have been dying to see what I've been working on.

A happy thing, though: although yes, my sentences suck, there are lots of red herrings and "what?"s in the pages, there still is a basic, flowing story that is actually moving forward, and I have found at least 5 sentences in the first 100 pages (of 220 hard copy pages) that I actually *like*. I think that's a good sign! This may seem crazy to people who have just started writing, or those who have been writing so long they have learned to write good sentences the first time, but seriously. Five good sentences is not bad...

I'll check back later to write about how significantly this manuscript will be changing, and whether I really think I'm up to it (of course I am!)


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