It’s incredibly humbling when you read back through your first draft and realise just how truly craptacular some of your initial writing was. The only other process that brings you face to face with your flawed- humanity-as-a-writer (apart from editing your own second draft) is the first time you send the project out for critique partners to give feedback on. Then you get questions like, “Why has this character inexlicably changed clothes (or gender?)?”, “Didn’t this character die two chapters ago?”, and “Shouldn’t you stop saying ‘He saw’ every third paragraph”. (Oh, and comments like “Way too many adverbs dude.”)
In today’s post, I thought I’d share some not-so-gems from my own editing of my first drafts – things I came across and changed wearing a scowl on my face as I contemplated my own craptactularity as a writer:
- she smiled vaguely – what the hell is a vague smile, Pete? Is it a smile or isn’t it? (I cut the word vaguely)
- he was hit with a cacophany of odors – I know what I was going for here, but cacophony just wasn’t the right sensory word. I change it to collision for the moment, but I’ll still have to go back and finesse.
- Donnici’s backside found his chair once more, expression incredulous. – er, Donnici’s backside had an incredulous expression?? Note to self: don’t make people’s bottoms the subject in a sentence.
Thank God that in writing, unlike real life, we get the chance to redraft…