I am just about finished my first draft read-through of “The Esclavan Abductions,” my fourth Herezoth novel. The process has gone really well so far. The draft has major issues, don’t get me wrong, but I do think the story has potential (and I wasn’t convinced ahead of time I would!)
I just adore the main characters, who were all children at the end of the first trilogy and hardly feature there at all. I’m not sure how the greater plot arc of the adventure–which involves a war that isn’t settled by book’s end–is going to play out, but I can’t wait to discover it! I do believe I can find some way to settle things that’s both believable and interesting.
So…. the read-through. I think I have some five or six scenes left, if I remember right. I’ve left myself well over 100 comments in Microsoft Word. (Find out here what to take notes about during a read-through). Some of my notes I’m proud of.
I’m always glad when I catch inconsistencies in the text, because I’m afraid I’ll overlook then. You know, like when you mention twice that a character stands up or sits down or does something specific. Or–something I caught today–when you particularly mention in one scene that a character avoids watching something she doesn’t want to see, and then in a later scene, you make a reference to her reflecting on vivid memories of what she couldn’t have seen. Stuff like that.
I’m particularly proud of my comments that say things like “This paragraph is awful. It can probably go.” Or, “This wording is so awkward!” “The last sentence here is terrible.” Why is that?
I’m proud because I resisted the impulse to fix it as I was reading. That’s for the best, but it isn’t an easy thing for me to do, so I’m happy I managed to control my perfectionism to such an extent as I did.
BUT DON’T FORGET THE GOOD STUFF!!!!
One thing I’m not happy with myself about is that I didn’t leave comments for myself about stuff I liked. When a piece of dialogue was particularly good, or when I liked how genuine a character’s actions felt to me, or when I felt a plot twist was well-executed.
I marked none of that. And I wished I had, because positive comments mixed in with the critical can provide an energy and morale boost later one when I’m slaving away on the edits, wondering how on earth I’m going to fix this problem that is just so annoying because I can’t figure out how to solve the issue without doing this, and if I do this, then that becomes a factor, and….
You get the picture.
So remember: any assessment of your own work should be as impartial as you can make it. That means not only holding yourself accountable for what’s not so great, but giving yourself credit where credit is honestly due. Don’t short change yourself. 🙂
NOTE: I’m out of town for a wedding until the end of the weekend. Please feel free to comment if you’d like to! I’ll respond when I can. 🙂