I finished a draft of my novel. I didn’t mention it on here because even though the draft is “finished,” I use that term loosely. I know there’s going to be a lot of editing for this book. I haven’t looked it over, but I’ve made a list of things I remember that I want to fix and that list grows by the day. Keep in mind I haven’t even read over the thing in its entirety yet!
The reason why I haven’t started editing is I want some time away from this book before I dive back in. A ton of sources online recommend getting some distance, which I did for all of last week. I was very unproductive with my writing and that made me sad. Finally, I realized that the obvious course of action is to begin outlining the next book in the series. (It’s going to be a trilogy.) I started that last night and all I have to say is: wow. Outlining this next book is making me realize even more things I need to fix in the first book.
It’s also helping me become a better novel outliner/planner, which is great. I made so many mistakes while outlining that book I just finished. What kind of person groups scenes together that she doesn’t intend to have together in the final version? (I’m embarrassed to say I’m that person.) And if you promise that a novel is science fiction—well, it darn well better be science fiction. (Hence I need to tone down some of the political elements that don’t do much for the story.)
I suppose I shouldn’t be too harsh. The draft that I just finished marked the first time I seriously attempted to outline a novel. I had one vague attempt before that. I noticed that even a vague attempt made the writing go faster, so I tried it again. And now that I’m doing it yet again, I am slowly refining the process. I’m putting the scenes in the order I envision them for the final draft. Of course, this may change, but hopefully I won’t need to change as much as with the first book in the series. (Ugh!) I’m also building a timeline into the outline. Beside each scene, I have the day and time of day noted. I’ve found it is very easy to lose track of the overarching timeline of a novel during the writing process, so I want to nail this down early.
I have slowly realized that the more planning you do up front, the better of a draft you can produce the first time around, which makes things easier in the editing stage. This may be an obvious point, but it’s an important one and something that’s very easy to forget.