1. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Finished! Well... sort of

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by AJSmith, May 6, 2011.

    I just finished the first draft of my novel and I am so, so thrilled! I know there is a lot of work, fine tuning, editing, and pruning ahead, but it all seems so managable now that the story is all on paper.

    I have someone, who I really don't know (which I think is a good thing), with experience looking at people's writing, who is willing to read it for me and give me feedback on it.

    Would this be an okay time to let her do that? Even though I know of several specific things I need to fix myself? Is there a better time to get an outsider opinion.

    I have read a lot that this a a good time to take a short break and let the writing cool, so I figured having someone else take a look would help me stay away from it.

    I do find myself wanting to tell her all the things I know that are wrong with it, but I've also learned that it is better to let the reader draw their own conclusions... does that sound right?

    Anyway... words of wisdom about how to go forward at this point are welcome. Plus, I just had to tell everyone here that I finally finished!! :D
     
  2. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I suppose there are advantages to letting her have a look right now. That would grant you an early outside opinion and your second draft could incorporate the feedback you receive.

    But I personally wouldn't. If there are flaws in your first draft that are so obvious you recognize them instantly upon completion, then I say rewrite first. I always get annoyed when people rush for an external opinion knowing full well they haven't written their story to the best of their ability, nor have they corrected errors that they're aware of. It's discourteous to the reviewer because they will most likely pick up on these shortcomings and advise you on something you already know. You're basically wasting their time.

    Another thing if you've got just one shot with this reviewer would you not want to give her your story in its best form, so whatever contribution she makes will be of the highest value to you. And if she says its perfect and a highly entertaining read, you can at least be a bit more confident in your finished piece, and not be deliberating over whether to still make those changes you were planning before you gave it to her.
     
  3. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    Did you self Copy Right it? Also, I would print out a hard copy take it to the post office and mail it to your self to get it post marked. When you get it in the mail do not open the seal and keep a copy in a safe or some where.

    It could be that I am a paranoid person but this is what I would do. I know it is a myth but I say it cant hurt to do this. The best way is to register your copy right.

    Also do not post your entire work on any web site. Only post small parts. Some publishers do not like it when you have an entire peace on the web somewhere.

    I wish you the best of luck in getting published. :) If no one picks it up you could always self publish.

    Check this out for more:
    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=41157&page=3
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it would be better and more relevant to have someone look at your ms when you have finished revising etc, = when you have done all you can to it and don't know how to make it better than it is already on your own. congratulations, by the way, I know the feeling and it's great. I also agree with the one telling you to put it aside for a while to get some emotional distance to it, because right now you can't see it with critical eyes, at least 2 months I think is a right amount of time.
     
  5. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    I don't personally let anyone read it until it's near the best I can get it on my own. Otherwise, people just tell me things I already know, thus wasting an opportunity on my part to improve and wasting some of their time.
     
  6. TheSpiderJoe
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    TheSpiderJoe Senior Member

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    This right here.

    I honestly didn't even let my fiance read my novel until it was completely ready (to my liking and standard) to send to publishers and agents. This way, she was able to give me some good feedback about issues I either didn't see or didn't believe existed in the first place.

    It might take a long time to reach that kind of standard but in the end you'll be happy you did.
     
  7. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I highly recommend going over it yourself until you honestly cannot see anything wrong with it. If this is your first draft, you're going to have A LOT of errors here and there, NO OFFENSE! But, I think that is a true statement. Trust me, you want to give it your ALL, your BEST effort, and then test it by having someone with experience go through it. MY opinion, of course... Hope it helps you make your decision.
     
  8. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Absolutely none taken. :) I know that it needs a lot of work.

    It seems that the feedback from you guys is pretty unanimous, which, on this forum, means a lot considering how often I see differing opinions on things. ;)

    I have got it on my jump drive and plan to print it out this evening, and agree that it couldn't hurt to send it to myself. Thanks!

    Two months seems like a long time for it to sit... I don't know if I could stand it. I get the point though, and agree with you.

    It is a great feeling to be done with that first draft though!
     
  9. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    But why print out a first draft?

    Why not edit it directly on your computer? Sounds like a bit of paper wastage to me.
     
  10. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Initially, I planned on just correcting on the computer, but I sort want to get my hands on something tangible and mark it up some. I'm heading out on a vacation in a couple of weeks and I thought it would be easier to bring that along than my computer....

    I don't know, it does waste a lot of paper though. :confused:
     
  11. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    I am the same way. It is easier to markup paper with a read pen and I like the feel of it. I never by ebooks because I like the feel of a book in my hand. Don't ask why.
     
  12. Hollowly
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    Hollowly Member

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    Congratulations! :) I think if you choose to let someone read your book that it's better not to say anything first so that they don't come in with any preconcieved notions.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    there's no such thing... anything one writes is automatically copyrighted [1 word, not 2] as soon as it exists in reproducible form...

    the only thing one might do after that is to 'register' the existing copyright, but that's usually done only after you have a publisher and they do it for you... it's definitely not needed to be done by you at this point, for any reason...

    anyone who wants to be a writer should learn the basic copyright rules 'n regs... available here: www.copyright.gov
     
  14. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Thanks!
     
  15. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you do have someone read the manuscript, I agree with Joker. If there are problems with it that you can identify, fix them first. But if what you feel may be wrong is vague doubts you cannot pin down, set them aside. That's normal apprehension, but don't let it get in your way.

    Under no circujmstances should you discuss the manuscript with your reader in advance any more than absolutely necessary. Let him or her read it without any initial biases, and without knowing what you are trying to achieve or convey. Let the reader's commenst to you tell you if he or she read what you were trying to communicate.

    And when you get those responses back, resist the urge to defend your original intent. The whole point of an unbiased reader is to discover eaclt how well your writing communicates the vision in your head, and for that to work, you need to really "listen" to your reader's thoughts. Set your ego, and your fears, aside.
     
  16. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    Cogito, thanks. I have a lot of ideas about what the issues are with my first draft, but they are more vague and general.

    After speaking with the woman last night about it, I think this would be a good time to get some general feedback. I will be sure not to speak with her specifically about it before hand so that I can get her unbiased impressions.

    I am finding that I will be at a loss for what to do with my time while I wait to begin revising... I guess it's time to start on my next piece. :)
     
  17. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Best plan ever.
     
  18. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    that is the best part; there is no dead-time when writing. Even when you have finished one story and have to wait a while for the next step you can always start a new one! :) or planning another. Or start revising the previous one ;)
     

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