For The Big Mistakes (And the Small Ones)

An actual eraser I have sitting on my desk

I have just finished the second draft of my novel, Read Me Dead.   It’s liberating to have it done, but I feel like it’s the first draft all over again.  I dread editing.  I shudder at the thought.

See, my second draft has different changes in it than my first, but I went from third person point of view/past tense to first person point of view/present tense.   I also made new changes that took my original plot to a new level.  I have to admit to liking this draft better, although I’m sure there are things about it I don’t like.  I guess we’ll see.

That’s where the revision process should help.

I have been thinking about a revision checklist for after my small break from the novel.  (When my guest post is up on Procrastinating Writers Blog, you can see some of my feelings of the revision process and how I feel that distancing myself from it for a week or two works best.)  But ultimately, I have a checklist waiting for the edit.

I have three people, so far, willing to read the second draft for me, which includes Leanne Baldwin (Thanks, Leanne!) , a good friend I mention a lot who also has to listen to my obsession with writing and my complaints with it as well, and my dad.   To be honest, I’m a bit nervous about having it critiqued, but it will be very helpful.  (And if anyone else wants to read it, I’ll be glad for it.  Feedback is important after all.)

Here is the checklist I’ve come up with for my particular draft.

  • Is the plot line cohesive?  Does it flow, or are there pieces of the puzzle missing?
  • Are the characters believable?
  • Is the dialogue realistic?
  • Are there any confusing parts?  Slow parts?
  • Are my characters too chatty?
  • Is the reader in the scenes or too distant from them?  Are there too many filter words?  (There has been an interesting conversation going on about filter words here recently, although I agree there is a time for them, I don’t want to have too many in my manuscript.)
  • How does first person point of view work for the reader?
  • Is there enough action?
  • What about the dream sequences?  Do they work or detract from the story?
  • Do I tell or show?

If any of you follow Kristen Lamb’s blog, then you might have read 4 Writing Crutches that Insult the Reader’s Intelligence.  I have added these to my list of things to watch out for as well.  In fact, I have taken out the italics I used which I believe are mentioned in the comments section.  Part of it also ties back to punctuation that was discussed at Laura Stanfill’s blog, Using the Exclamation Point in Fiction.

Laura Stanfill’s guest post on here has been very informative for my revision process too.  I will keep those questions in mind while I work on the revision of my novel.

As Jo Eberhardt suggested in her guest post here, there are good reasons to write a bad first draft.  (However, I’m including my second draft as well.)  And then comes the revision.  So, I will revise this novel and hope it goes from bad draft to amazing novel.  (At least a decent one.)

In my opinion, revision is the difference between a good story and a great one.

The checklist hanging on my wall beside the awesome question mark- fitting, right?

Am I missing something in my revision?  Am I over-thinking it?  Will I be driven crazy by the end of it?  What are your thoughts on the revision process?


7 thoughts on “For The Big Mistakes (And the Small Ones)

  1. I’m a couple of steps back from where you are now, since I left my WIP alone for nearly four years and am now writing draft #2, including a change of POV (though I can already tell that the limited-third-person thing isn’t going to work), so it does feel like writing a first draft again. And I can already tell that the plot is going to go in some different directions.

    I do agree with letting a draft sit before starting revisions, though I admit it doesn’t have to be four years. 🙂

    I’m a bit tied up with this to read for you, but I am reading Piercing through the Darkness. 🙂


  2. It really does feel like a first draft again doesn’t it? 😉 But yeah, 4 years is quite a long time, but it’s been two years since my first novel. I plan on going back to it after my next project, hopefully.

    I completely understand. Thanks for reading Piercing through the Darkness though. I appreciate anyone who buys it and supports me. 🙂 I know Jody Moller has bought it as well. Yay for friends who buy! haha

    I started A Sane Woman actually. I haven’t gotten far into it because I’ve been busy with writing, but I promise I’ll get it read! So far so good! I actually can’t wait to know what’s going on!


  3. Jen Randolph

    Hey girl, I love what you got on your blog so far. If you want an objective opinion feel free to use me. I am working on a new obsession with finding new names to read. I will look into the other works you wrote too. Good luck with everything!


  4. Pingback: It’s not you. It’s me. Really. I swear it is. | Emerald Barnes' Dreaming Awake Blog

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