Edit your first draft

Don’t be alarmed if you come back to your first draft and find it terrible!

EVERY first draft is bad. All those great ideas seem flat when you read the first draft. The structure will seem a bit wobbly, or maybe a lot wobbly. The dialogue may be simplistic or monotonous. The setting may be boring. The characters may be flat and uninteresting.

There are so many things that go in to a story and editing the first draft exposes so many flaws. Don’t give up hope!

As has been said by countless writers, Writing is Re-Writing. In essence, editing your draft is where you really write. The first draft is created so you have something to mold and improve. Before the first draft, everything is just concepts and ideas. Now that you have a written draft, you can dive deeply into each section, paragraph, and sentence to make them match what you created in your mind.

In the Editing phase, you’re transitioning from envisioning your story to communicating your story. Communicating is a different aspect of writing and can’t really be done until you have a written basis. Now you can change the order of the pieces, make the characters’ characteristics more defined and interesting, give more detail to the setting, punch up the tension and the plotting, and make other adjustments.

Feel free to make as many changes as you want while editing. You’re not bound to your original thoughts if you have better ideas while editing. It’s always your story and your creation so you can fix it any way you want.

You’ll want to make any obvious changes to punctuation and grammar during this phase.

One word of caution here. Do NOT over-edit your story. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and want to make changes everywhere. Don’t try to make it perfect. You want to edit your story so it reads better than your first draft, but the goal is to get the story published for feedback. You’ll be getting comments to help in so many areas once you publish your story as a Draft story. Let other writers help you find things to improve on your story as well as to grow as writers themselves as they review your story. Expend enough energy on the editing process so the story is in readable form, then get it published. You’ll have time after getting reviews to edit the story again and really make it shine.