In case you think you are the only author who starts out the fixing drafts thinking, “What idiot wrote this pile of manure?”
“Ohhhh. Yeah. That idiot was me.”
I found This post from author Alyssa MacKay about her thoughts on reading her first draft and it inspired me to buckle down and do this. For fun, and to keep myself from starting to believe that every single word is crap that must be deleted, I started treating it like a game. Good things get me points, mistakes take points away. There is no goal, scoreboard, prize, or satisfaction.
Here, for you, are the 100% honest thoughts.
- I’ve re-written this opening sentence so many times that I’m sick of looking at it. +5 points
- I hope it makes a good hook? -5 points for subjective hoping
- OK, this seems mysterious enough to make me want to read on. +5
- Dun dun dun. Foreshadowing. +5
- “It reminded her”=telling. Plus I started a sentence with a pronoun. Damn it. -10 points
- World building. Beta readers said there wasn’t enough world building in the first few pages. -10 points
- Every other freaking sentence has a “, and” in it. – 10 points for using the same sentence structure for every sentence. Bad me. Bad.
- Uggh this is all flashback. But the world has to be built, or the beta readers will remind me again that they don’t know what’s going on. -100 points for a rock and +100 points for a hard place
- There’s a mix of dialogue and action. I’m going to feel good about that until someone shoots me down. +10 points
- That was kinda funny. 5 points to Gryffindor.
- Should there be a comma there? -5 points
- I’m not sure 3rd person limited is the right POV. -5 points
- I don’t know anything about commas. -5 points
- But I’m damn sure not writing anything in 1st person. Uggh I’m so tired of everything being in 1st person. We have to be near the end of this trend. +5 points for going my own way
- I hate commas. -5 points
- Good chapter ending hook. 10 points to Hufflepuff
- Enough with the commas! Who do I think I am, Charles Dickens? -10 Victorian punctuation points
- You know what, Microsoft Word? I don’t need your snarky editorial comments on my comma usage. I know I have a problem. -10 Word points
- I already know what’s coming, so it’s impossible for me to say if this is page-turner material. I think that means another round of beta reading. +5 points for bravery
- Bahaha. A little dry wit. +15
- Holy giant wall of paragraph, Batman! Let’s chop that up a little. -10 points
- Should probably delete that exposition. It’s telling. -10 points
- Ha, I like that description. 10 points for Hufflepuff
- I’m still in love with this ending. I will fight anyone who tries to tell me different. +20 points to Slytherin
- Damn it you’re supposed to take advice from beta readers and not be all stuck up about killing your darlings. -20 points to Slytherin
- Wait, my beta readers have liked the ending too. Every single one. So ha! +20 points to Slytherin again. In fact, House Cup for Slytherin
Final Score: Minus several million points for good sense. Plus another round of beta reading.
Featured image via Stocksnap.io and Josh Byers