I've finished the first draft of my latest book. Now comes the hard part - the revisions. Like my last book, I wrote pell-mell, with very little editing and never slowing down. My focus was to finish the book and worry about the details later. When I was stumped for a word, I put an XX in its place. When I felt a scene dragging, I wrote "Finish this scene later." So while I have a solid story and the entire plot framework is in place, the writing is far from over.
Which is a good thing, because the book is too short, by a good ten to fifteen thousand words. At first, I panicked. How could I possibly add that much more? But then I looked up how long my last book was at this point, and oddly enough, it was only about five hundred words longer. Apparently I like to wrap up a story around the sixty-five thousand word mark. But after revisions and edits and tinkering, the last book ended up being over eighty thousand words, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this book follows suit.
The first step is to fill in all those XXs. And there are a lot. Every time I couldn't remember a tidbit from the first book (what's the name of the gas station outside town?), I'd mark it to look up later. Any time I wanted to focus on dialogue and not worry about physical actions, I'd mark it for later. And now later is here. Once I've filled in the missing words and information, then I'll need to read the book from start to finish and edit it as a whole.
I've already dug out my list of revisions from the last book, many of which apply to this one, and I've got my Don't Murder Your Manuscript at the ready. The book was invaluable the last go-round, so I'm planning to read it again to remind myself of everything I need to keep an eye on during the editing phase. Why are so many people nodding, smiling, and frowning in the book? Why do I use the words "just" and "very" so much? How can I perk up the dialogue?
I'll spend the next couple of weeks fixing up the first few chapters, then I'll submit that work to my writing group for even more suggestions and revisions. Let the fun begin!