Tag Info

Hot answers tagged

15

John Smithers' advice is good, but I'd add a few details (and leave it for longer than three weeks!) Before you put the MS away, make a first pass at your query letter, as well. This is good because the query needs some time away from your eyes just like the MS does, and because writing the query can really help you figure out what the book has going for ...


15

Let it sit and start a new one. Do not touch it for at least two weeks. Maybe even longer, you have to get distance. Do not give your raw draft to your beta readers. You do not want to let them point out all the obvious mistakes, which you can easily find yourself when reading it with that distance. Because it is likely that they will stop there (not ...


10

This is one of those questions where everyone is going to have a different opinion, so ultimately the final answer is up to you. We can help you consider options, but you have to make the final choices. The options presented so far by Kate and John are very good and get right to the main points: 1) set it aside, and 2) work on something else. As for setting ...


10

At first, I thought this is a bit of a tricky question. Normally, I would say that about half the words that are in your first draft probably shouldn't make it to the second. Then they are usually replaced by others (and then the same thing happens again for your third draft (and fourth (and ninth))). But if you are lacking all detail, then I think you ...


9

If your story is complete, then leave it as a novella. Focus on telling your story and getting it cleaned up and finalized. Don't worry about the length. If you need to add some scenes to help make the story more complete, then do so, but don't add them just to try to force the story into becoming something larger than it needs to be. I have seen a very ...


7

Count how many words are on a page or two. It's alright to guess, but try to get it about right. Multiply that by 200. Now you have your wordcount estimate, which is the standard way to talk about a book's length. Contemporary novels tend to go about 80-100k, fantasy gets to be a bit longer, while YA fiction tends to cap at 75k. If you have 200 words on ...


5

A "draft" is one complete pass-through of writing a piece (an article, blog post, short story, novella, novel, etc.). Your "first draft" is generally considered the first time you commit the entire thing to paper (or pixels), from beginning to end. After that, you can measure subsequent drafts or rounds however you like. It's reasonable to divide them as ...


4

For now, write to amuse yourself. It might also amuse other people, but that's not something to worry about now.


4

And I didn't describe actions, dialogues, and settings with much detail. Should I go back and add the details before starting the second draft? I've seen your writing. The answer is yes. :) (And I mean that in the nicest way. You work very hard. You do need to flesh out your dialogue with descriptions.) Go back and review these two questions of yours ...


3

The answer to your question is: It depends on how the writer works. This is a question that's impossible to answer in a general sense, since different writers will approach a story in different ways. Some will rough things out and add detail later on, some will dump everything down on the page and trim it down later on. Without seeing a manuscript, it's ...


3

If you're asking how you can know by yourself what you should edit, the answer is you can't. You will find some things in your personal editing passes, but everyone, even the biggest of big-name authors, needs an editor who can help them get past their personal blind spots and see the weaknesses and deficiencies in their work. That's what editors are for. ...


3

Since this is your first draft, it is no where near perfect. Put it away for at least a month. When you come back to it, you will see everything in a new light. My first book was only 30,000 words. When I came back to it, my reaction was "Who the $%& wrote this?" :) The scenes seemed to jump, characters were in a hurry to say their lines and leave, ...


3

Based on my 25+ years of academic co-authorship: Your co-author definitely won't feel free to change everything unless you tell him so directly. Don't feel awkward. Some people fall in love with their first draft and only want the co-author to "improve" it but not "change" it. If it's a really good first draft that's not so bad, as it will speed ...


2

Get it on paper, and make sure it's funny to you. Then find beta readers and editors and see if it's funny to others. You can always fix something after it's written, but you can't edit a blank page. Start writing. Figure out the joke too far later. P.S. please reference Martin Freeman, for several obvious reasons.


2

I had the exact same problem with my first work, so let me tell you how I dealt with the problem. I was trying to aim for 60k, but my book ended at 20k. There were several reasons the book came up short. The main was that I had tried to write the book without any thinking- sort of like the pantsing or discovery approach (see this question). Like you, I did ...


2

Dittos to Lauren Ipsum. I'd add: Don't get hung up over how many drafts to write, or whether a given set of changes is sufficient to call this a new draft. I can't imagine any value in agonizing over whether you are presently on your 4th draft or your 5th. There's no rule that says you have to make revisions all over the document with every pass. It's ...


1

Exploit your own weakness! Yes, you've got a problem - but luckily for you, you're writing a comedy, and your problem is actually funny. You should openly address the issue of having "Mr. Save-The-Day" cliche. Turn it into a main theme in the story. Let your main character actually be distressed by it, or maybe even neglect his duty because of it. It makes ...


1

With comedy writing one of the best things you can do is to write everything that seems even remotely amusing and then remove anything that later turns out to be a bit limp. In fact "just go for it have as much fun as possible and then edit after" is easier to do then "carefully write everything perfectly the first time around". The only way in all ...


1

Your fun has just started. Look at the first three chapters. Look at the first sentence. Look at the first five pages. Each of these are critical if you want to sell it. Do not even bother with a re-write of more than the first three chapters until you have an agent/publisher interested. All of the above are what will keep you from getting into the slush ...


1

Keep in mind that "rewrite 'till it's good" is just one opinion. It's also an opinion that doesn't work well for a lot of authors. I might be unpopular for saying this, but my advice for your first novel is to just fix typos, fix mistakes, and start mailing/self-publishing(at a slightly higher price than you think you should). If it's bad and get's rejected ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible