Well, conventional wisdom (and those experts) must not work under a deadline.
And, to be honest, laying aside a first draft for weeks has never been my method, even before I had an agent and a contract and deadlines. By the time I type THE END on a first draft, I know all the things that are wrong with it, which may include:
- Important information I never found a place to insert
- Important information I inserted in several places, not sure which place would be best
- Plot holes
- Unnecessary side plots, characters, or clues I never ended up needing
- Inconsistent details in setting or world building
- Wavering character motivation
- Necessary character changes (In the first draft of The Caged Graves, the character of Beulah Poole started out as a teenage girl. I realized about two thirds of the way through the first draft that I needed her to be an old woman!)
Immediately after the first draft, I create a side-by-side outline to guide my second draft revisions. In one column, I list the important events in each chapter. In the other column, I note what changes I'll need to make in that chapter. This sometimes will include rearranging or eliminating chapters.
|Side by Side Outline for Draft 1-2 of The Eighth Day|
|Color coded outline after Draft 1 of The Caged Graves|
When the second draft is complete, that's when I send it out to beta readers and I take a break from the manuscript. Under my current deadline, it won't be a six week break, of course. I only have ten weeks before this book is due, and I don't want to turn in anything less than a fourth draft.
As for the revisions themselves, I start with Chapter One. I am a linear girl ...