First edit pass

This is so personal, but I’ll share. Everyone ends up with a different kind of first draft. So this may make no sense to some! In my first draft, I start out with a couple of sentences, increase those sentences to a solid outline including dialogue. I then change the outline to actual narrative. My first draft is readable, but I wouldn’t want anyone but myself reading it!

On my first edit pass I start with this “first draft” and make these changes:

  1. Anchor the reader in the scene (who, what, where, when, why).
  2. Answer any outstanding questions I may have had while writing that first draft.
  3. Make sure the characters don’t watch and observe, rather have them in action and conflict.
  4. Use scenery and description to set the mood.
  5. Show – don’t tell!
  6. Layer in similes, metaphors and personification.
  7. Add layers – sound, smell, taste, feel, sight (include lighting).
  8. Use specific nouns and verbs to help paint a stronger picture in the readers mind.

Before I am done, I verify that I have about 1200 to 1500 words for the scene. Not too long. Not too short.

How about you – any writing tips for that first draft? More tips in a few weeks for finalizing that first draft!


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