Watched How I Edit a First Draft

Watched How To Edit A Rough Draft || My Editing Process from YouTube

You finished a rough draft: Now what?? I know so many of us struggle with how to take our first draft from where it is now to where we want it to be.

  1. Braindump of ideas as soon as she finishes draft — what’s still in your head?
  2. What’s the overarching story question that’ll be answered?
  3. Zeroes in on POV character arc now that she knows the characters better
    • where is the character at the beginning?
    • mirror moment: midpoint recognition that they’re resisting change
    • who does this character need to be at the end?
  4. Looks at turning points / bones of the story:
    • ACT ONE
      • Opening scene/ hook
      • Key event — locks your character into the story
      • Meet the antagonist/ learn the mystery
      • Meet cute
    • ACT TWO part 1
      • Into the new world
      • Pinch point
      • Midpoint
    • ACT TWO part 2
      • Reaction to midpoint
      • Second pinch point
      • Second doorway — catapults into third act
      • All is lost
      • Climax / profession of love
      • Resolution
  5. Checks scene by scene:
    • does the progression from scene to scene work?
    • Are there plot holes that need filling?
    • Is the scene needed?
    • Does this scene support character arc, theme, plot?
  6. Makes scene index cards: character goal, outcome
  7. Fills in the holes, rewrite and write new scenes — she likes to fill in holes first rather than going through the whole book from the start
  8. THEN attacks sentence by sentence edits, amplifies what’s already good — here she goes from start to finish — some people do multiple passes of whole book with different targets, she does multiple passes chapter by chapter
  9. Listens through text to speech or naturalreaders
  10. Beta readers — she has them all comment on the same draft
  11. Copy editor / line editor — find inconsistencies and pacing issues
  12. One Final Read! She doesn’t like to let it sit for too long, maybe a week, trying to experience as a reader (tries to read in one sitting)
  13. Proofreader

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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