Everyone rewrites in a different way. Some authors rewrite as they're going along while others complete the first draft before attempting any rewriting. It's best to write the first draft before you start any rewriting. This allows you to see the direction that your book has taken. Don't get discouraged if your first draft is less than magnificent. Remember, this is only a rough draft! The average book is about 80,000 words, although a rough draft of a book may be less.
A word of advice: Step away from your first draft for a few days and come back and read it "cold' – as if you're reading it for the first time. Don't rush through the manuscript, take it slow and look at the elements in the most important part of your book – the first page. When determining whether a rewrite of the first page is necessary, ask yourself:
1. Does this hook the reader or bore the reader? It's important to pull the reader in as soon as possible.
2. Does the story get off to a fast start or slow start? Don't bog down the beginning of the story with unnecessary dialogue or irrelevant details.
3. Is there foreshadowing to imply that something is going to happen? Readers enjoy stories that makes them anxious and leaves them on the "edge of their seat." This type of intrigue makes readers want to continue reading the book.
4. Is conflict or a series of conflicts introduced or is there at least a build up to conflict? A good way to figure out the conflict in the book is to present the reader with a question that will be answered later on in the book.
5. Are the main characters introduced? Characters – or at least their names – who figure heavily into the story should be introduced in the beginning.
As you continue reviewing your first draft, make sure your story has a point. The main points of your story can be presented as symbolism or as subtle messages that you're trying to get across to the reader. Each character in the book should figure somewhat in the plot. Each sentence in the book should move the plot forward.
Seldom does all of this happen in the first draft of the book. This is why rewrites are necessary. In our next post, we'll talk more about rewriting your book.
Would you like to have your manuscript proofread by professional editors before you publish your book? MarketingNewAuthors.com (MANA) can help. MANA offers editing and proofreading services and pointers on how to improve your work. If interested, contact MANA for further details at firstname.lastname@example.org.