Preparing a Manuscript – Where my novel is now – Mighty Jock

The book so far…..
Well, I have finally finished the first draft of my current novel, working title – Bullied. It feels good, or rather felt good, as I pressed the final button and checked the word count. Just shy of 85,000 words. But, it isn’t done by a long shot, so what will I do now?

I forget who it was that really introduced me to the idea of the ‘shitty first draft’, but as soon as I heard it put that way, I knew I was a convert. While I do try keep an eye on formatting, grammar, spelling and ‘story continuity’ as I produce the first draft, I know, for a cold fact, that my MS is littered with punctuation mistakes, word repetition, contradictions, and errors in PoV and dialogue. So what on earth can I do about that? Is it worth spending long hours going line by line straight away? Or is it more important to get an opinion on how good the story is?

Here is the plan I use to get my MS on track and ready to send out to the, hopefully, interested agents.

1. Get some time apart.

The first thing I think any writer needs after they have ‘finished’ is get some distance from the MS. When I finally typed the final words I knew that I ‘couldn’t see the wood for the trees’ and any attempts to edit at that point would, most likely, be futile. So, take some time away, I took three weeks, and then went back with fresh eyes.

2. Print it out and read it for fun!

This is what I did next. I printed the whole MS out and read it without a pen or pencil in sight – no editing allowed, no marking down mistakes and thoughts – I just read it, start to finish, and OMG some of this part of the process was cringeworthy! It was clear that at some point, during those long late nights of typing away, that my judgement became impaired, I had taken on the personality of an illiterate 4 year old, and I wrote some howlers. I kept that draft and will put together an ‘outtakes’ blog in near future.

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