Update on my Novel: Sins of the Father

If you aren’t sitting, then sit down.  I CAN’T believe it but it’s finally true–I have a rough draft of the entire novel.  Finished.  As of today.  I know, it should have been finished months ago but fear (mainly fear but lots of other things) have kept me from pushing through to the end.

I’m still desperately afraid–what if it stinks?  It probably does stink–but at least I have a first draft of the whole thing.  And now to the really hard part.  Rewrites.  But how/where to start???

I’ve spent so much time and attention into figuring out how to get out the first draft that I’m at a loss as to where to start on the rewrites.

I’m thinking that I’ll start by reading through the thing, making copious notes about each scene, trying to get a feel for the pace and action (or lack of it).  I need to make sure that things flow and that the characters are challenged.  I also need to be sure that my facts add up, that clues are dropped in at the right places, and that red herrings lead readers astray.

I’m not sure I’m up to this task.  But worse case scenario, this has been an incredible learning experience.  And think how much braver I’ll be on the second novel!

4 thoughts on “Update on my Novel: Sins of the Father

  1. Congratulations on finishing your first draft, Kelly. That’s a huge accomplishment! I highly recommend you put it away for a minimum of a couple weeks to provide some distance. Then print it out and read it straight through with fresh eyes. At that point I usually have a red pen in hand for quick corrections (grammar, spelling, typos), but I don’t make any major ones. I may put a sticky somewhere to come back to, or scribble a note in the margin for later, but I don’t want to interrupt the flow too much… I want to try and see the whole thing as a new reader would.

    I actually enjoy revisions, if you can believe it. In the first revision I try to decide if the beginning is active/interesting enough or whether I should start with a different scene, and if subsequent scenes are in the right order to build conflict, if situations are believable, actions realistic. The “big picture” stuff. That’s when I sometimes axe whole scenes that I may have liked but are really just filler and don’t do anything to move the story ahead.

    After that I go through it again, working on a scene at a time, sentence by sentence, finding stronger nouns and verbs and eliminating a lot of adjectives and adverbs, making sure the tense is consistent, that there aren’t any unintended POV shifts, that narrative has a good rhythm and dialogue sounds natural, etc. It’s what works best for me. Some writers do one more revision as a grammar/spelling check but for me that fits better into my first read-through.

    I recently went back to an earlier novel and re-wrote it. I’d gone through it so often I was totally sick of it and after several revisions I still thought it was awful, so I finally abandoned it and went on to write a couple new novels. It kept niggling at me, however, so last spring I decided the story needed one more chance and I re-wrote it from scratch. Now it seems to work and I’m happy enough with it that I’m going to send it out on submission. I’m sure an editor would still find lots to change/improve but I’ve done what I can with it. I have other stories waiting for my attention!

    Best of luck with your revisions. It’s a lot of work, but very satisfying.

    • Thank you for the kind words and your wonderful advice. I have set the manuscript aside and hope to brainstorm some new projects–plus we’re thinking about slipping out of town for a couple of days before school starts–a last hurrah before we declare summer over.

      • Enjoy the “last hurrah”! School doesn’t start here until September 7th so we still have four weeks of summertime left. (I guess I should be whispering that so it doesn’t seem that I’m flaunting it!) 😉

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