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draft two

So I have the revised outline as my story will be.

My first draft, printed out.

My story bible.

Time to Boogie.

My next step is:

Read through the first draft with my outline as my story will be ,making revision notes. I write directly on the manuscript, add post-it notes where I think I might miss my notes, add those little tabs where I want to point to a specific line. I move chapters, add chapters, mark out chapters. I BREAK MY HEART.

This revision pass, I concentrate on PLOT, and to a lesser degree, pacing. Of course I will fix anything else that sticks out at me as I come across it: dialogue, voice, setting, etc., but my main thrusts at this point are plot and pacing. I want to get the story straight so I have a firm foundation of STORY for my characters to act and react in.

However, character and plot can’t really be separated. So keep in mind as you revise that your plot choices will be informed by your characters’ personalities and values.

Choices. You haz them.


revising: keeping stuff straight

Boy, that was a long week.

Good job holding on, guys.


Next step before I get going on the Ol’ Revision in earnest is…

(Don’t you like how I offer no reason or excuse for my long absence?)


A story bible is a file where a writer keeps track of the facts of her novel for continuity’s sake. One doesn’t have to be writing a three-book series to have one. If you’re like me, (what a dangerous phrase to type), you’ve gone through six or seven names for everyone and everything and everyplace during the first draft.

Some things that might go in a Story Bible:

  • Character names, first and last
  • Character ages, physical descriptions
  • Street, town, restaurant, store names.
  • Pet names
  • Books the character’s read, TV shows, food they ate.
  • Rules of society
  • Spells, language quirks, texts
  • Car makes and models

Another helpful thing to stick in the Story Bible is a CALENDAR.

I use a VERY RUDIMENTARY mini-outline (because we know I am not an outliner) and count out my timeline through the weeks and months. See where in the year my book starts, how long it lasts, make sure my pacing is realistic.

In general, stick the niggling details of your novel in your Story Bible.

I sure don’t want to have to flip through 100 pages of manuscript to see what street a certain character lives on, or if it was a Camaro or a TransAm the villain was driving. Who has the time?

I gotta write.

forget sprockets: keep revising

Are we all revising like bunnies?

Yeah, I have no clue what that simile means, either. But aren’t they cute?

To recap:

  • First, I printed out all my chapters.

That concludes my recap.


Yes, yes, I know I am a sworn pantser. But there comes a time in everyone’s life when only an outline will do. My time is AFTER the first draft.

Bob is in pretty good shape, but there are threads in the beginning of the manuscript I’d forgotten about by the time I got to the end. Miraculously, many of them tie in nicely with later plot points.

I think that’s because I let my subconscious play.

Some ideas didn’t turn out well and were abandoned. When I’m first-drafting I don’t go back and rewrite unless I’m really stuck.  I try to keep moving forward in the story, as I tend to ruminate on perfect turns of  phrase. Which is ridiculous at a stage when I’m writing whole chunks of manuscript that might be thrown out.

After I write the outline of my first draft AS IS, I can go through and make the choices of threads to keep, threads to drop, threads to connect.

I make sure the plot is logical.

That the subplots ENHANCE the main plot.

Then I write  another outline AS IT WILL BE. This is what I’ll work off of for my second draft.

But. There’s one other thing I have to settle on before I start the second draft….



Hang on.

i is for ing

It’s scrub day at Cauthen Manor. So let’s make this quick.


When going through your manuscript, watching out for “ing” words will help in your revising.


Watch out for “ing” words when you revise your manuscript.


Eliminate as many as you can. “ing” words tend to occur in passive passages. They also make you sound like a Monty Python sketch.

Nothing personal.

kill my little darlings? *gulp*


That’s what you have to be, when it’s time to renovate your draft. And that means you have to kill your little darlings.


Oh, yes. We all have those fabulous turns of phrase, magnificent descriptive paragraphs, pithy dialogue exchanges…that stop the story cold.

But–but–isn’t there a kinder, gentler way?

Okay, okay. There are three things you can try, Little Cricket.


Maybe that bon mot would flow better coming out of the mouth of another character. The description of your main character’s bathroom might work at the beginning of the chapter, rather than three paragraphs in. You may save your little darling with a simple adjustment to your pacing.


The problem with your esteemed word-pet might be the language. Can you shorten it, flip it on its head, choose more active verbs? Is it your character’s voice? Is it consistent with your authorial voice?


When all else fails, go to your Pot of Gold. This is a file where you keep all those beautiful things that don’t fit in your manuscripts, but are too fabulous to trash. Someday, you will find a place for them. You may end up writing an entire novel around a perfect paragraph you had to excise from a previous story–who knows? NOTHING IS EVERY WASTED.

oh yeah. i swore a solemn oath…

…that I would blog every Tuesday and Friday. Dang my unrelenting Spring Resolutions.

Okay, I’ll take a break to let you know what I’m doing today.

I’m sure you are fully aware that I have FINISHED MY WIP AND I AM INTO REVISION TIME. No, this is nothing like Hammer Time.

Because I definitely can touch this, baby.

I spent this week going through past critique comments and consolidating them all on one hard copy of each chapter.  THAT was interesting. Sometimes, one person might hate a certain sentence, while another person would love that same sentence. But there are plenty of places where I have a POV slip, tense change, unnecessary attribution or leave my characters floating in space.  All in all, I have lots of fabulous advice to ponder from my critique buddies.

Today I am plotting Story Arc. Yes, most of you made an outline BEFORE you wrote your story. I think I may have told you previously…


I am taking index cards and briefly writing down each scene. After I have done this for every chapter, I will go back and ask myself, “Self, does this scene further the story or tell the reader something vital about the character that he didn’t know before?” If not…

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