On the First Read-Through

Posted on March 3, 2010. Filed under: Editing, My Writing | Tags: , , , , |

It’s been an incredibly busy day. I’ll make a short post. Wednesdays are hopefully going to be my days to update you on the editing progress this month and tell you all the fun things I’m working through on my manuscript for Fire and Ice Bound.

With that said, I’ll start by explaining how I want my first read-through to go.

I’ve already read through the prologue and the first chapter. I may or may not ditch the prologue after the advice Orson Scott Card gives in his how to book. I haven’t decided yet.

My first read-through, for better or for worse, is simply going to be a grammar check. The only reason for that is I know myself too well. If I reread what I’ve written, I’ll go nuts every time I find a comma splice or misspelling. So I’m reading critically for grammar first.

But I almost forgot to mention my program! As a NaNoWriMo winner, I had the opportunity to cash in on some great winner offers. Obviously the one most NaNo-ers care about is the free proof copy from CreateSpace, and I definitely plan to use my coupon and get my proof copy once my manuscript passes inspection. However, there’s another awesome offer that a select number of NaNo-ers were able to cash in on this year as well.

I say select because it really depends on what type of operating system you use. Anyone using an Apple was able to cash in on this offer, and it’s pretty fabulous. The NaNo winners were able to purchase Scrivener at a 50% discount from the cover price.

Scrivener is a word processor, but it’s not just a word processor. It was created with writers in mind, specifically writers of longer pieces of fiction, like novels. Scrivener allows you to do some really awesome things: combine all your story documents into one giant file, use the corkboard to move and manipulate the order of your story, divide each chapter into scenes, edit, use the full-screen mode for minimal distractions while writing, and so much more.

It’s a pretty intriguing program, and I’m just now exploring it through editing Fire and Ice Bound and writing The Macchiato Murders and Tales from Lucy, but there are a lot of things I’ve yet to figure out. It has everything from a standard novel manuscript form to a tutorial to scriptwriting features, and it’s pretty simple to operate.

So I’ve imported all my chapters from the NaNovel into Scrivener and have read through the prologue and first chapter, making minor wording changes and a few rewrites or deletes. It’s not great, and it needs a lot of sculpting and shaping to make it work, but it’ll be worth it.

This is the beginning of my editing process, and I know everyone edits differently, so what’s your starting point? A brisk read-through to get a feel for the whole story? Chapter by chapter or scene by scene revisions? Let me know! I’d love to hear tips and tricks from the pros (or the not-so-pros as the case may be).



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9 Responses to “On the First Read-Through”

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Well, you’ve pretty much read my editing attempts. I’m terrible when it comes to long edits. What I’ve aimed for, but never been able to accomplish, is one complete readthrough of the entire 1st draft, then note plot flaws,etc. then revise several times. I simply cannot make myself read that first draft straight through. All the mistakes, passive verbs, misspellings, etc. drive me to distraction. So last month I attempted something different…namely just editing it straight through for grammar and sentence structure (and noticing plot things along the way) just so I could get through one single edit. Then I could do the readthrough without cringing at all the typos at least. I’m about 1/3rd of the way through my 1st edit.

I wish I had some pearls of wisdom to share, but I’m struggling along with this issue right now. I edit like crazy on my short fiction, but novel length fiction is another story.

Btw, I’ve heard lots of good things about scrivener. Unfortunately, it won’t work for my computer. šŸ˜¦

Have you looked at Scrivener’s site? They have a whole section of writerly programs in their links that work for Windows and other OSes (whatever the plural is for OS). It might be worth a glance; it seems there are quite a few programs out there for Windows that work for novel-length fiction and the like.

And I knew it wouldn’t work for me to attempt reading through once, so I set out with the grammar idea. It’s the only way I’ll survive the rough draft, and then I’ll be able to read through a second time. Granted, there will be other mistakes I missed or wrote in, but I can handle that (I think). šŸ˜€

I looked awhile ago, as well at some other writing program sites. I did have one once that worked fairly well, but then they changed their system and I lost my work. Burned once, you know…

Now I just use Open Office for everything, and back up with Google Docs. It’s all I really need. šŸ™‚

Hmmm I haven’t had a lot of experience editing my own writing, but when I beta for people I can’t separate the different areas of editing, I have to read through carefully and do everything all at once, asking questions about the plot, correcting grammar, asking for clearer, more vivid descriptions, etc. If I try to separate the different areas, I just forget what good comments and changes I had and end up frustrated because I knew I had something to say about such-and-such part. ^^;

I understand that; I’ve actually created a research page in Scrivener of revision notes for the second read-through. I don’t want to go through and change certain things yet till I’m sure of what needs to be fixed. So as I see things I need to go back to on the second read-through, I’m writing them down in my notes. I’m tempted to put in colored annotations in the text as well for faster editing later… hehe.

I’m planning on blogging about revisions tonight!

I started (sort of) last night, but it was all preliminary stuff. I created a spreadsheet to track hours spent on revisions plus what I’m working on (revising certain chapters, writing new material, doing additional research, etc.) and I’m recreating my editing checklist as I have no idea what happened to my old one.

After that, I think I’ll do a complete read through to jog my memory (may be a painful experience as this novel is OLD). After that, I plan to work on it backwards. I figure if I keep the end in mind, I’ll be better able to see what portions are unnecessary to the whole.

Good luck with your revisions!

Yay for blogging about revisions! I can see why you’d want to go back and read through your novel. It’ll help get the ideas flowing. Unfortunately I’ve been thinking about mine off and on since I finished it at the beginning of February, so I haven’t really forgotten everything. (Except the beginning since I wrote it so long ago. LOL.)

I’ll look forward to your post! And good luck with your revisions, too! šŸ˜€

For all you windows users, who are bummed about Scrivener. There’s also Celtx which is nearly the same, not as snazzy, but it gets the job done. It’s also free. After reading Rae’s post. I just discovered yesterday.

Here’s the web address:

Thanks for sharing, Ed! šŸ˜€ I may have to check it out just to see what it’s all about. (Besides, I have a PC, too, and who knows when this old laptop is going to go… *knocks on wood*)

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