My friend and I recently had the chance to start working on our second draft of the first book in the series we’re writing, and a lot has changed. I thought I’d make this post to share a bit of our experience with our first round of major editing.
- Plot: Some of the biggest changes came from adjusting the plot. The story line was adjusted to make more sense, and we rechecked the timeline more times than I care to recall. In the first draft, the climax was set waaaaaaaaaay too far back, with not enough leading up to it, causing it to feel rushed and forced upon the reader in a confusing way. We learned how to sprinkle in bits and pieces of important information throughout the rising action to better prepare the reader for the climax.
- Setting: Several places were added to the world we created for our characters, and we made better use of what we already had. We do plan on putting a lot more time into world building. It’s important to remember that even if you can picture your characters’ home world with ease, readers might not be able to unless you get descriptive. Even if it may not seem important, setting is your friend, and can be of great use when attempting to set a certain tone throughout a story.
- Characters: We recently had our first major character cut in this draft, and it was, admittedly, a bit hard. After almost a year working on draft one, it’s difficult to completely remove one character, but we cut a family of four after coming to decide that they just don’t play a big enough role in the development of the plot. It’s not bad to have minor characters, but they were stuck trying to play a major character’s role without having the same importance. Other characters were improved upon to differentiate them, and we continue to grow more attached to them every day. A handful of new characters were added to suit the needs of the adjusted plot, and we have high hopes for their development, as well.
These three things helped us make important changes for the new draft, and our story will be better for it. I think the most important thing is to remember to never be afraid to adjust, or even start from scratch. Just be as thorough as possible, look at things from the reader’s perspective now and then, and always remember that it’s okay to add and delete ideas. It is your world, after all.