You’ve just finished writing the first draft of a story and you’re excited about it. You have set your characters free, so you feel relieved. Now you can’t wait for the world to read it, you hope they can understand the world you’ve created and that they care about your characters.
Before you send that work out however, read this!
1. Go over the story.
A first draft is what it is, the first. As you revise your work, you might discover that you have not considered an angle, explored the theme to the best of your ability or underdeveloped a minor but significant character. You want to be sure that your work is saying exactly what you want it to say, so it is important that you go over it several times before you share it with the world. I have sent out work that I hadn’t thoroughly revised and I was sorry for it, so read that story one more time.
2. Share it with a beta reader.
A beta reader is basically someone who reads your work objectively to point out its strengths and weaknesses. Such a person should understand what to look out for. So I’m saying, don’t share it with someone who will only flatter you. He/She should understand characterisation, theme development, setting, language and plot. You might not find all these qualities in one person, so it’s alright to have more than one beta reader. A good beta reader will look out for the little details that your story lacks. I have a beta reader who points out my weak sentences and another one who points out my long ones! If you’re reading this and you don’t have a beta reader, you should get one!
3. Have it edited.
This is super important! You need an editor to correct grammatical errors, proofread and ensure the coherence of your work. I have seen too many people whose works have little to no consistency or order rushing to get published. In the first draft you’ve dumped so much information, some of which is unnecessary and needs to be taken out. A good editor identifies these and helps to polish your work. No matter how many times you read the work, you cannot see all your errors because you wrote it. Don’t be afraid of editing, in fact, embrace it as a necessary tool for the refinement of your work.
I know the thrill of wanting to share your work quickly, and I have published work I am not very proud of, because I didn’t take note of these three tips. Don’t be like me, do better!
Got any questions or comments about anything you’ve read here? Feel free to leave a comment and share your own experiences!