Sunday, January 21, 2007

Finished Rough Draft of WIP!

Late last week I finished the rough draft of the mystery that I've been writing--slowly--since last summer. It's 21 chapters, 249 pages, and almost 70k words long. I would like the final manuscript to be about 75-80k words long, but I usually add about 10% to a manuscript during the editing process, so I'm confident I can get there.

Now comes the editing. I usually do a pass for each major character, to deepen the characterization and check for consistency. I'll also do a setting/description pass to make sure I've described all the locations, clothes, weather, etc. with enough detail for readers to develop a picture in their mind. As part of this, I check the five senses in each scene, to see if I'm appealing to all of them, if possible. Then I'll be checking my research, to see if I can weave any more in, and the plot, to make sure it keeps on moving at a good pace and that what each character (and the reader) knows at any given time is consistent with what they've known before and are learning in the current scene. And there's so much more.

Finishing the rough draft does not a polished book make, but it sure is easier to edit something that already exists than to create something from scratch. I'm excited about beginning the next phase of the process. Oh, and this mystery, tentatively titled Wicked Whitewater, has a whitewater river ranger as a protagonist. It was a lot of fun to research and write. Hopefully it will be just as much fun to read!

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