Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Bitter Truth # 5

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Sep• 10•12

Bitter truth # 5: Don’t pop that champagne cork too soon.
Just because you finished writing a book doesn’t mean it’s done. In fact, the real work of writing might just begin. Writing is rewriting, my friends. Fixing the pacing, tweaking the character arcs, scrutinizing the manuscript scene by scene, line by line, making sure that it all sings.
Once your first draft is complete (hurray!) approach revision with the same openness to inspiration with which you began writing the first draft.

I urge you not to become enamored of your first manuscript. Few of them get published. For most of us, it’s an investment in learning. Most published writers move on to their second, third or fourth novel to get published.

Here’s what works for me: edit briefly as you go along, while ideas are fresh. Begin each day’s writing process by editing what was written the previous day. You might want to print out each day’s work and revise on a print-out then make the corrections on the computer. Thus, when you’re printing out a first draft, it’s actually a second, fairly polished draft.

Once you have that draft ready for revision (seeing with fresh eyes) remember that revision has four parts: Read the manuscript. Find the mistakes. Correct those mistakes even if they seem to outnumber the good pages. Improve content, rational, and flow during your first run through.  Once you have a solid third draft, enhance style and voice.

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