Last Reality Check I posted was #10: The Hardest Part of Writing – Is Writing. Well today I’m here to tell you that I lied. Yep! Straight through my pearly whites. The hardest part of writing isn’t the first draft, it’s re-writing the first draft – the first time. True, getting the story down is a challenge, and when complete, something you should be proud of. But it’s the re-write that grabs you by the short hairs and challenges you in ways you can’t even imagine. (There is a reason it’s called the ‘First Draft’)
“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.” —Stephen King, WD
So #11 on my Reality Check for Authors is – now that you’ve gotten your first draft down, it’s time to put on the big girl/boy panties, take out that trusty red pen and begin taking every sentence, paragraph, scene and yes, even the plot and characters apart, word-line-story-motivation at a time. And when you’ve done that, you will go through the entire process again and again, until the MS is as close to perfection as you are capable of getting it. And then – you’ll do it again. (If at this point you’re feeling depressed or overwhelmed – that’s okay. It took me two MS’s to get over myself and realize, it’s all part of the process of creating great work.)
FYI: Author EE Orme told me that she does at least 20 re-writes when getting her novels ready to send off to the editor. That’s pre-editor, not post. And you know what happens at the editors, right? Another trusty red pen comes out and someone you trust to tell you the truth, whacks the crap out the MS – again.