Finished first draft. Now what?

I finished the first draft of my novel about a month ago. I’ve been told it’s useful to let the manuscript to cool down for a while. But how long? I have a list of things that might be fixed and/or improved, but I wonder if this is the time to do so or should I have some reader’s input before getting into it.

Any thoughts on the matter?

A reader’s input can help, if the reader is typical of your intended audience and is candid. A page of praise from someone worried about hurting your feelings is worse than useless. While looking around for a good candidate, try reading the work aloud to yourself, particularly any dialogue.


the amount of time you need to leave it is intensely personal and also affected by what you,ve done in the meantime. that said, a month should be plenty, especially if you have been using that time to read lots of different things, turn your paws to some different writing, and otherwise done things to properly cleanse the palate. of course if all you,ve done during that time is think about your novel, write little notes to yourself about your novel, and generally thinks about things you might want to add to your novel, then go take a cold shower and leave It another fortnight.

my general advise re external input is… unless you are just sending over a few pages to get a confidence boost that you,re not wasting your time i would avoid getting feedback until you,ve taken it as far as you can yourself. for one thing, it means the feedback you will get will be genuinely helpful instead of a list of spelling mistakes, grammar points and plot issues of such glaring magnitude that you feel obliged to reply with thanks, yeah i was going to catch those on the next pass.

Good point indeed. I have a few candidates which match the profile and whose opinions I expect to be professionally ruthless.

My mom, on the other side, will have to wait for it to be a finished product :wink:

Yes, very useful too. I’ve noticed a lot of clean up results from that.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Another fortnight it will be :wink:

Good point too. I’d rather work on it a little longer to have most grammar and style quirks as polished as possible to let the readers pay attention to the real problems they may find.

Thanks a lot for your sharing your views!

Young r6d2,
To avoid pointless redrafting of redrafts of the first draft, all the first draft requires, is copious amounts of gymnasticated fornication, oodles of sado-masochistic encounters, and lashings of gratuitous violence… physical as well as verbal. Keep my advice foremost in your thoughts, and your readers won’t care a gorilla’s fart for plot/grammar/literariness, etc., etc.
Hope this helps :wink:

Ye gods! Even its whiskers are kinky.
Gorilla’s fart? My ars…no, er…wait…
:open_mouth: :wink:

My dearest Fluff,

Your advice has been noted for consideration the next time a have to produce a first draft. :wink:

Well, what was supposed to be a fortnight turned into a couple of months of not touching my manuscript. I’m beginning to craft the second draft these days.

I spent most of those two months reading my favorite authors. That gave me new ideas and broke some paradigms.

I’m surprised by the new perspective that a distance in time can bring to the table. A few paragraphs that seemed brilliant when I first wrote them now look just crap that cry for a rewrite, whereas other insignificant placeholders call my attention much better now. It’s almost as if I were rephrasing someone else’s work. :slight_smile:

How is the second draft coming along? Have you found the story clicking into place more?

Actually, no. I found a problem in the structure that is preventing me to give the reader enough information on due time to unveil the mystery of the story. I found out that I was keeping for myself crucial information that made the latest developments to look like a rabbit extracted from a magician’s hat.

This is something I was only able to notice after letting the story rest for a while.

I’ve decided to rewrite the secondary subplot and attempt to fix that.

And will you add the sado-masochistic encounters that Fluff recommended? :wink:

:laughing: :laughing: :laughing: Not likely. Maybe next time.