We’ve previously explored taking space between completing the draft and before the revision starts. Today’s topic – reading the draft – is about beginning the revision process by reading your complete draft and what to do during the step of the process.
Catching the idea
Evaluating the idea
Growing the idea
Reading the draft
Revision and self editing
Critique group feedback
Rewriting or recreating
<<GO TO Critique group feedback, if needed>>
Either print out the draft or read it on your computer. Most might prefer to read from a printed copy.
Plan on reading the draft in three to five sittings. This will give you a good “feel” of the story. You can jot down the following, but remember – NO REVISIONS YET!
Are there passages that are too slow? Too fast?
Are there sentences or passages that are awkward or unclear?
Places where you need to add material?
Places you need to cut?
What is your overall impression of the book?
Consider coming up with symbols that you can use to makes a passage or sentence. This will help to keep you reading without getting lost in writing about what needs to be fixed. (Except for the last question, which you can respond to after you’ve finished reading the draft.)
SECOND LOOK AT THE DRAFT.
Decide what you want to achieve in this read through and how you want to accomplish your goal.
Will you use a checklist?
Do you want to try and capture all potential updates in one pass through the draft?
Do you want to go through the draft twice, once for revisions about craft elements and a second for grammar, punctuation, etc.?
NOTE: Some writers combine the first and second readings of the draft in one pass. This is entirely up to you in how you want to approach this.
Once you have this completed, you might want to give your draft (WITHOUT your notes or symbols) or specific passages to a few writing friends with specific questions that came up for you during your reading of the draft. THIS IS NOT A CRITIQUE OF YOUR DRAFT, but seeking answers to specific questions ONLY.
Questions you might ask:
What do you like about the protagonist? Dislike?
What about the antagonist – likes and dislikes?
Did you find passages that bored you? Passages that were too slow? Too hurried?
What did you feel about the overall story? (If he or she is reading the entire draft.)
What suggestions would you make for a stronger story?
What did you like about the story?
After looking over your notes about what needs to be revised and the feedback from a few friends, you’re ready for the next step in the writing process: Revision and self-editing.
Question for today: How do you approach the reading of the completed draft?