When you finish your first draft – be it 100 pages or 500 pages – put it aside for at least two weeks. It’s a fine moment! Now you have what you will call your working draft. When you read it again have a pen and pad handy. Time away allows you to return with fresh eyes and expansive vision; you will make surprising connections and hopefully have a great many questions and ideas.
You might have insights about the structure. If you’re working on a memoir or a novel there will be scenes where your work with character is spot on and other moments when you might have relied on cliches. ( They pop up all over the place in early drafts.) If you are working on a non fiction book you will see the places where you have presented your ideas in clear and compelling ways and the pages where the writing is muddled. This is all par for the course.
Take notes, lots and lots of notes. Don’t trust that you will remember your insights into what is and isn’t working. These notes will help you come up with a plan for your revisions.
Over the next several weeks I’ll be posting more on the process of revision so do visit again.
~ Lisa Fugard