Monday, June 4, 2012

The Rough Draft Is Done! Now Get Out the Red Pen.

It's done! I've completed the rough draft for book two of my Wings of the Dawn series.

But as we talked about last time, the rough draft is simply a step along the way toward completing a book. It's a big step, but still ahead are several challenges.

That's why - although I'm taking this moment to lean back in my chair and appreciate my 60,000+ word count - I am not shutting down the computer just yet.

Instead, I'm jotting down some questions that will help focus my proofreading - and perhaps prove helpful to other writers who are ready to get out the red pen and start reviewing their rough drafts. 

Consider some "big picture" questions:
  • What questions did I raise early in the story? Did I answer them - or did I intentionally leave them unanswered?
  • Does my character development seem natural? Readers should be able to relate to the characters and find their struggles and successes believable.
  • Does my plot move at a steady, suspenseful pace, and do I have a logical timeline of events? 
  • What details might I (as the author) take for granted that my readers may need clarified? For example, by this point, I feel as though I know my characters personally and can practically see them and hear them talk. However, have I glossed over some helpful descriptive information that my audience might want to know?
That said, don't forget the details. Back in college, I learned that I needed to proof my papers and projects several times - each time with a different focus. For example, the first time , I would review the "big picture" issues. Then, as I went back for a second and third review (and in some cases, more than that), I would focus on the details of sentence structure, phrasing and grammar.

Yes, a rough draft is a big accomplishment, but now isn't the time to rest on any laurels. Now is the time to grab the proofing pen and set to work on the next phase of the story's development.

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