So… what’s next? That’s the question that probably pops up in most people’s heads when they finish their first draft. Or, there might be no questions in your head, you might just be making a face similar to this:

I mean, since all you could think about was finishing that treacherous journey, you didn’t realize there was another one right after your first destination! When I finished my first draft, I felt like a heavy weight had fallen from my shoulders. But after the relief set in, I felt a new emotion. You know what it feels like when you finish reading the first book in a series, and you feel like you’ve just started an epic journey? That’s what I felt after I realized there was a LOT more left to do after the first draft.

I have a loose plan of what I’m going to do next, and if any of you guys are ready to do that as well, hopefully these points might help you!

 

  1. Wait before you read it again. I repeat: WAIT. This may seem like a pointless step, but if you don’t, you won’t be distanced enough to really see it through the eyes of a reader. You can wait however long you want, the longer the better. I’m personally going to wait a month.
  2. Read through! This one is essential, because you won’t be able to do anything unless you know what’s wrong, right?
  3. Make a chapter outline of your first draft. Some of you might not do this, but I find it to be EXTREMELY helpful in seeing where I went wrong. It also makes it a lot easier to make notes of plot holes, because you have everything in workable sizes, so you don’t have to get stressed out with a whole novel in front of you. Chapter outlines can be as complex as you want, but I typically just write down what happens, any special clues or hints that I dropped, and any “moments” if there is a special time between two love interests.
  4. Make notes of any plot changes you need to make, and make a new and revised chapter outline for draft 2.0. This will be your map as you navigate the rocky roads of revision, and will be extremely helpful.
  5. Write the second draft! Using your chapter outline, write the next draft.
  6. Let the second draft cool off, and pick beta readers! I have heard of people who use beta readers for either their second or third draft, and I personally don’t know which I’m going to do at the moment. Beta readers are great to help you see what direction your book needs to take next. I’m lucky enough to have a critique partner :), but I will most definitely find other readers for my book when the time comes.
  7. Take into account your beta readers suggestions, and re-read the draft yourself. Bring out the red pen! I personally hope that all the plot changes I’m going to make will be done by the second draft, but if they aren’t, just make another chapter outline.
  8. Write draft three! I’m hoping that my book will be ready for the proofreading stage after this draft, but you never know what the future holds!
  9. Let the third draft cool off.
  10. Re-read it, and get the opinion of a close friend or critique partner to help you line-edit. If you re-read it and find anymore plot changes, though, plan on making a fourth draft.
  11. Write the last draft! This is the stage I’m most looking forward to.
  12. Proof read once more, then run a grammar and spellcheck. Get another opinion(this is completely optional), and you’re done!

 

I hope you guys all found this interesting! This was my first post, so I hope you enjoyed it!

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Junity

I'm a 13 year old who loves to draw and is proud to say I've finished my first draft. Platypus and ice cream are my favorite things ;). "All human wisdom is contained in these two words 'wait' and 'hope'." - Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Christo.

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6 comments

  • Sounds like a plan! I’ve worked through this process for a book before and it works really well.

    I think the most important thing of all I learned when I went through (and possibly the only thing I’d add) is that when you don’t quite like something print the scene out in double line spacing and scribble all over it in red pen. At first it’s a little dauntning but then playing with fixing things can become fun!

  • Nice!! I’m really excited to see your journey through these steps!! It seems like you’ve definitely plotted out your plan a lot better than I did 😀

    Anyway, in terms of 2nd or 3rd draft, I’d personally go 3rd. In my view they are the first readers, so I want to make sure they get something I felt comfortable with. For me that was my 4th draft, although I would probably be fine sending out my 3rd. But it’s all up to you and what you are comfortable with others reading!

  • Yayy!! You didn’t forget your awesome CP :p this was an awesome first post, Junity. Out of curiosity, to you plan on getting your work published, and if so, which method do you plan to pursue? I can’t wait to read your chapter outline!!!

    • I definitely plan on getting published! I might check out self-publishing, mostly because I want to have a lot of control over the final edits and cover art. I just sent my chapter outline as well :).

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