The First Draft Edit … She is Complete, Captain!

As you may remember from a previous post, I was hard at work during the month of April writing the sequel to Imminent Danger, which is currently titled Chasing Nonconformity. Once the first draft was complete, I set it aside for a few months and … HA. As if. Nah, I set it aside for about a week, couldn’t wait any longer, and had an editing spree over the last few days in which I edited the whole darn thing. And now it’s edited! Huzzah!

Well, edited in the sense that I went through it and fixed all the problems I could find — which, in no particular order, were:

  • Exchanging en dashes (the short dashes) for em dashes (the long dashes)
  • Making sure my protagonist, Eris, didn’t come off as whiny and annoying (good news: if she did before, she no longer does! I hope …)
  • Making sure Grashk, the six-armed lizard man, didn’t come off as too angry and violent (bad news: he’s still pretty violent, but now it’s in a “playful” way, if that makes any sense)
  • Making sure Miguri, the tiny old wise alien, doesn’t speak with contractions
  • Making sure the plot actually makes sense

The last point is probably the most important one, and I think I did a fair job at it. Only time will tell, however. I have officially sent off this draft to my ALPHA SQUADRON (trademark pending), which is a fancy and entirely made-up-on-the-spot way of saying “my beta readers”. They are, in no particular order (with names changed/omitted to preserve their identities):

  • My mother — editor extraordinaire, famous for not wanting to read Imminent Danger because “I was afraid it would be bad”. Thanks, Mom. Approximate read/review time: 1-3 months.
  • My brother — master of logic and tactics. He’s excellent at tearing apart my admittedly sketchy logic and returning comments to me along the lines of “Why did they do X when Y is so much easier?” To which I reply “Because plot, dammit.” Approximate read/review time: 3 days.
  • My best friend — awesome, super supportive, and has no problem informing me when my protagonist gets so whiny about her hair that she (my BFF) felt like tearing out her own hair. Approximate read/review time: 1 month.
  • My writing compatriot — friend of many years, architect of many DnD campaigns, and excellent reader/editor/reviewer/wiki-creator/fanfiction writer. Approximate read/review time: 3 weeks.

Once these four kind souls are finished tearing apart my manuscript, it will return to me so I can fix/ignore the issues they raise. After that … I’m torn. Traditionally it would go to another round of beta readers, but I’m thinking it might be a good call to do the Mother/Daughter patented “Cutting the Manuscript Down to Size” (CtMDtS — or, “Count Doctor teaspoon”) big screen editing session first. To see a recording of one of our CtMDts sessions for Imminent Danger, click here.

So … thoughts? Beta readers or CtMDts session first?


Unrelated media of the day:

I can’t stop listening to this song. I don’t even know why. It’s not that good. It’s just so … odd.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments

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36 thoughts on “The First Draft Edit … She is Complete, Captain!

  1. Wow! Congrats on the first draft! I’m looking forward to reading and will check out Imminent Danger too.

    • Excellent! I’ll try to have the sequel out sometime this decade so you don’t have to wait forever for it after Imminent Danger, lol.

  2. (P.S. Just bought ID from Amazon for my Kindle- can’t wait to read it. Congrats again).

  3. Congrats on completing your first round of edits! Boy you are fast, haha. I think you should go with beta-readers first. Get all the major kinks out, then have a final review of the whole thing. 🙂

    • See, that’s what I was thinking. Except that if I use up my beta readers before I do the final review and cut down the manuscript to a less ridiculous length (I only need to cut about 10k words instead of 25k, thank goodness), I don’t know if I’ll be able to utilize said beta readers again for a final go through. Maybe I should use half my beta readers before the final review, and half after. Hmm …

      • Well, maybe you could ask your beta readers – during their review – to suggest the parts they think your novel could do without? This would make it easier for you!

        • Ooooh good idea! I guess beta readers wouldn’t think of that normally, would they? It’s more “how do i fix what’s already here?”, not “what stuff doesn’t need to be here at all?” I like it!!!

  4. Geez you’re fast! 3 days to edit? Unbelievable. In my humble and completely inexperienced opinion, cutting the size should be (one of) the last editing session(s) you do. Excuse me while I conjure up some firm evidence to support this opinion…
    Also, being a novel that features aliens, I think you should get an alien to beta-read it. ie some bloke from the south-eastern parts of Australia for example, that should be alien enough! (Don’t mind me. I’m just trying to get in sort of first or ASAP with the sequel! Can’t wait!)

    • Lol did you just call yourself an alien? I feel like I should alert the Australian authorities or something …

      3 days to edit … yeah. I got a bit carried away and basically spent three days on the couch with my little netbook, typing away. I definitely didn’t fix everything, obviously, but it’s enough to send the book to my beta readers without them cringing and making excuses about why they were too busy to read it. 😀

      If you’re actually interested in beta reading, I’ll add you to my list 🙂 I may or may not call upon your assistance, but it’s always good to have a wide pool of beta readers to draw from and exploit at will. Hehehehehe …

      • I did call myself an alien. I was playing on one of the North American (or is it exclusively USA?) usages where they refer to any non-USA citizens as aliens!
        I was sort of semi-half joking but I’d be interested in giving it a go. It’s not something I’ve done before so if I do receive the honour of doing a beta read for you then take my words with grain of salt. Or two. Maybe a dissolved one. 🙂 Perhaps to get a vague idea of what I’m likely to pick on, you could look up some of the other book reviews I’ve done on Amazon, if you like. It’s up to you. I won’t be disappointed if you don’t, but I’ll take it seriously if you do.
        11:40, off to bed now. G’night/Day! 🙂

  5. OMG fangirl squee! And congrats! 🙂

    • Lol I thought I was the only one who squee-ed. Excellent. And thanks 😀 Now the long and agonizing wait to hear back from my beta readers on whether or not it’s any good, lol.

  6. Kim

    Wow, that was fast! Makes me feel old and slow. Congrats on finishing!

  7. I want to read it! Gimme gimme gimme!

    • Hahaha hold your horses. You’re in the second round of beta readers, once my first round iron out all the problems. 🙂

  8. WELL, apparently we’re not doing you much good in the poll area–it’s 50/50 at the moment, lol! (Although personally I said cut’er down, which will provide even more changes for your beta readers, should you decide to go another round of that.) Either way, congratulations! =D I’m so happy for you! I wish I worked so fast, ha ha. (Although in my defense I’ve been busy, have no computer of my own, and my parents are threatening to disown me if I don’t get a job pronto.) At this rate you’ll be done with CN WAY before it’s time to publish it. Which I guess is good, because that will give you a jump on the third book, since you don’t have that mostly-written like you did with this one. SORRY, sorry, I know. I dwell on the future. It’s a habit of mine. 🙂 But congrats again!! I’m so excited, because I want more Immin Dang goodness! (Always and forever.)

    • Hahaha well, good news with the poll — I’ll probably end up doing whatever I want anyway, which will likely involve a completely unheard-of third option I haven’t even figured out yet. As for editing … yeah, I don’t know what got into me, lol. I think I started editing really hard core, and then got into the story and kind of couldn’t stop reading. That counts as editing, right? RIGHT?????

  9. Gwen

    Congrats on this exciting next step. I voted for next round of beta readers. Might be good to have someone who’s not related to you have a look. Then go back to the cut down to size after those comments have time to settle. Imminent Danger is downloaded, waiting to be read on my Nook… looking forward to it, whenever that may be!

    • Thanks 🙂 And very good point — family has a tendency to sugar coat things that probably shouldn’t be sugar coated. Actually, that’s not true. My mother has no problem telling me when I’m wrong, lol. I guess that’s a good thing? Yay for downloading Imminent Danger! I hope you have a blast reading it at whatever point that happens 🙂

  10. This is fantastic, Michelle. Well done (you’re VERY fast) 😀

  11. I always loves these musical interludes!

    • Lol, I would like to say I carefully pick and choose which songs to share based on my attempts to educate the populace about music and whatnot, but really I just share whatever ridiculous song I’m listening to at the moment.

      • Well Bom Bom is certainly fun and ridiculous! And I enjoy seeing that other people are getting the same enjoyment as me from music.

  12. Your flying straight into imminent publication!

    • Well, imminent self-publication, yes 🙂

      • That would have been funnier if I’d correctly written “you’re” instead of “your.” Ironically, I am at work editing documents and hopped away from that to leave a comment. Boy, do I feel silly?

  13. Pingback: Oh, So It Is Only An E-Book? | The Ranting Papizilla

  14. Well done for managing to leave your first draft for so LONG after finishing it before editing. Restraint or what 🙂

    Count Doctor teaspoon sounds like a good idea. Or crazy. Or both!

    • Restraint or what … definitely or what, lol. I am a fan of the good Count Doctor — I’ll just have to see if ye olde editor (aka mother) is available. She’s quite busy moving at the moment, so we’ll have to set up some sort of nightly skype session once she gets settled in at her new top secret digs.

  15. Good Post
    Sanoj Jose(Author, My Day Out With An Angel)

  16. Congrats! It’s such an awesome feeling to get through an edit of a first draft. *happy dances*

    • It’s not too shabby, is it? 😀 Of course, now I’m dreading the red-ink-soaked pages I’ll be getting back in a few weeks, but until then … sweet, sweet freedom!

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