Writing a first draft to a new novel is exciting. Juices are flowing, ideas are being realized, people are coming to life just as the writer has imagined them.
First drafts can be thrilling to write; they can be gut wrenching too. It all depends on how well pre-writing work was completed, how energized the writer is, how focused the writer is and on a few other things like having completed adequate research and whether or not the writer still has a good attitude toward the project.
The hardest work in completing a novel comes in succeeding drafts. Second, third, fourth...twelfth drafts are needed to fix plot and character flaws, dress up scenes, perfect conflicts, turning points, dialog, etc.
New writers should know, no matter how much in love they are with their first novel, it's a good idea to set it aside for a few weeks after they've completed it. Once it's mellowed on the computer or in a drawer or closet for a month or two, the writer should take a fresh look at it, as though they're seeing it for the first time. They should be super critical of it, noting what's great about it and what's not so great. Then begin rewrites.
It's always a good idea to let a project set at least a couple of weeks after each rewriting session and come back to it with fresh perspective for the next set of rewrites.
Each time a writer takes up a project to work on rewrites she has the ability to exercise a "Do Over," eventually making the novel the best it can be.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could do "rewrites" or "do overs" in our real lives from time to time?
Fran Shaff, Award-Winning Author
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