Friday, April 21, 2017

15 Steps for Rewriting your First Draft

Image Source

First drafts are often brain-vomit and hence crappy. You can polish those initial ideas with your own editing skills and make it shine.

Here are 15 easy steps to adopt while rewriting your first draft:
  1. Take a break from the first draft after you complete it. It can be a few weeks to few months. Come back to it later with fresh eyes and read it like a reader. You will notice many typos, plot holes, and redundancies. Mark them down and fix them.
  2. Run it through a grammar check software. Grammarly, MS word or any other free/paid online/offline software can come to your aid.
  3. Weed out the filter words, repeated words, and adverbs. Look out for these filter words that we tend to use often.
  4. Check the point of views you adopted. Are there errors in the way you have written the scenes? Check these tips to avoid them.
  5. If you want to make major changes to the first draft, create a re-writing schedule and outline the details you want to incorporate.
  6. Do not hurry through the rewriting schedule. Do it with as much enthusiasm as you had dedicated to your first draft.
  7. Check the pacing of your story. Use the exploding a moment method to slow down the pace in important scenes.
  8. Write detailed character sketches and incorporate these details to flesh out your characters.
  9. Re-establish the goals and motivations of your characters. After creating a detailed character sketch, you might want to incorporate some major changes in your characters' original goals.
  10. Did the characters undergo changes in your story? Write a detailed character arc.
  11. Are the transitions between the scenes smooth?
  12. Are there anachronisms, research errors or similar mistakes? Correct them.
  13. It is always good to use a simpler word instead of an uncommon word. Replace complex words with their simpler alternatives. Apps like the Hemingway Editor can help you with this.
  14. Check whether you can start the novel at a new place in your draft by moving around the scenes a bit. You need to create a hook as effectively as you can. You may have to rewrite the first chapter entirely or remove it.
  15. Send the finished second draft to your trusted beta reader for feedback. Once you get it back, if you find the suggestions worthwhile, adopt them. Repeat.

During this A-Z April Challenge, I am exploring the A-Z journey of writing a Novel with examples from Literature.

The Letter of the day is R

Linking this post  to Blogging from A-Z

Have you read the Letters A, B, C, D, EFGH  I  J K  L M N  O P and Q?

Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers


  1. Very good points. I have a similar list next to my laptop when I'm revising.
    (My AtoZ post today is on the same subject. Great minds work alike).

    1. Glad to know that. I agree whole heartedly. Great minds indeed think alike :)

  2. Those are very helpful points..and aligned in a good sequence to follow. Thanks for taking the pain to organize them in a way where it can be followed.

    Research is very important, but how much research do writers put in?

    Readers of the Night

  3. Coming back after sometimes to rework the first draft always helps.Liked all the tips Preethi.