1. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Read my first draft after a month break.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TDFuhringer, Feb 19, 2014.

    Just read my first draft after setting it aside for a month. It's my first time finishing a full draft. And now I can see why people advise taking a break to get perspective.

    It's horrible. But it's also not horrible.

    In the first act, the writing is unbearable, the story has all the structure of a pile of mashed potatoes and the plot holes are as plentiful as craters on the moon. By the third act, the writing is less unbearable, the story works and the plot holes are few.

    To my surprise, I'm not crushed by how bad it is. As I read, I saw exactly what was wrong and what needed fixing or changing. I'm actually looking forward to what will undoubtedly be a full rewrite.

    I was also surprised to find a handful of paragraphs that were actually decent. Now I just have to make the rest of the book sound as good as those. :)

    Bottom line: Now I see why you need to set your manuscript aside before rewriting. I highly recommend it.
     
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  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I totally agree, it's amazing how differently you look at your own work after having set it aside for a while. Plus the little gems you didn't knew existed, those shine through too. Congrats! :)
     
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  3. Passero
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    Passero Member

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    Sounds like great advice.
    I haven't finished anything yet but after reading this, I will probably do the same when I finish a first draft.
     
  4. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    I am in the same boat. I read my MS after four months and almost threw it away. It disheartened me so much that I have yet to write anything else. The flame was not extinguished completely. There is a smoldering ember beginning to glow brighter as fresh air breathes new life into the fire. Now the holiday season is over and my work is back at a manageable pace, I hope to be able to focus more on writing again.
     
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  5. criticalsexualmass
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    criticalsexualmass Active Member

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    Sadly, even after multiple rewrites, you will see things that just don't work. Eventually you have to accept it the way it is or you will never, ever finish anything!
     
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  6. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is true. But it's not publishable yet. That's my goal. Doesn't have to be perfect, or even ideal, just good enough to publish. Knowing myself, I've set a limit of four rewrites. Gotta get it right by then! ;)
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    At least, if you know what you're doing, you can make it so the things that don't work are really minor. You can find minor flaws in almost any great novel ever written. The question is, are you putting enough strengths in the piece to overcome the weaknesses? Can you make the flaws insignificant? If the answer is yes, do so, and your work will be good. Not perfect - nothing ever is - but good. :)
     
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  8. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Exactly. I'm not worried about minor imperfections, I'm worried about gaping plot holes, inconsistent characters, and moments of literary brilliance like this splendid tidbit I found on page 281 (facepalm)...

    "Standing in the center of the chamber they had just entered, was a very large creature. Standing on two legs, twice as high as a person, holding a huge wooden club, the giant looked almost as surprised as they did. It stared at them for a moment, as if trying to decide whether they were a threat."

    Incorrect tense(s), used 'standing' to start a sentence twice in a row, used two and twice in close proximity, bad comma/phrase combinations in the second sentence. And just plain boring. And weak, because of the way I used 'was'. How the hell did this fetid turd get into my happy manuscript? Was I on crack that day? :D

    Or this awesome bit of convoluted description I found on page 181 ...

    "Sobek opened his eyes and saw. He was in a small home, in a bed, being cared for by a smiling old man with a face like a dried apple and a few chaotic wisps of white hair on his spotted head."

    Good grief. I have work to do. :p
     
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  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Glad to hear you took some time away from it, TD. Best of luck on the editing phase.
     
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  10. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks @EdFromNY , your encouragement is greatly appreciated! :)
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe it's because english is not my first language, but I actually like those examples. :) They are very picturesque (is that the right word?). Don't be too cruel to your ms during revision.
     
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  12. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Sounds like you are trying to cram too much into a sentence TD. I have the same problem. Good luck with the editing!
     
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  13. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you for the vote of confidence @Tesoro :D I won't be too cruel, I just know I can do better. The story and the word pictures are fine, it's the words themselves that are the problem. They lack polish. They flow poorly and are weak. They just need to be polished to a shine!
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Exactly. They need some polish but the raw material is fine! :)
     
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  15. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Congrats, that's quite a feat :)

    T and I have fully read, edited, and revised our WIP countless times by now. I honestly can't remember how many times we've re-visited it. Twice we have set it aside and written something else, then gotten back to it. I don't know if it's because of the plot, which is fairly complex, or the world, which requires lots of outside-the-manuscript world-building (and then you just put the relevant stuff in), or what, but each time something pops up that has to be fixed, and just to think we had been about to let it go without fixing just that is positively gut-wrenching... But we're almost there now, so maybe this year!

    So yeah, re-reads can be pretty daunting at times, but it's always nice to find something that actually works too, that you got just right the first time. Then again, some people here have mentioned that their first draft is the final draft 'cause they edit as they write and very rarely have to go back. Good for them, but I'm just not that good, so it's revisions, revisions, revisions.
     
  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Well, I'm firmly in the Leave-It-A-While school of thought, when it comes to revision. Wait till you can look at it with the eyes of a critic, rather than those of the writer.

    What @KaTrian said above really hits home. "Just to think we had been about to let it go without fixing just that, is positively gut-wrenching."

    Indeed. The last thing you want, presumably, is to see your work in print and think: 'Oh, geez, how bad is THAT?' and wish you could get in there and fix it then. Probably too late.

    I'd say don't be in a rush to 'get published,' before you get it right. That's one of the chiefest dangers of self-publication, and we've all seen some of THOSE results, haven't we?
     
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  17. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Hear, hear.

    Also, when you start editing, you sometimes find yourself focusing on just one or two aspects and then forget everything about e.g. some technical thingy. Then your beta-reader points it out and suddenly you see this glaring error every-friggin-where aaand here we go again.

    Just letting the ms breathe for a while, even if just for a week or so, can do miracles. It's like you've been given a new set of eyes. Or brains.
     
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