What you see before you is what will, one day and if I’m lucky, be the third Mallen book. No title as yet. And really, this pile of first draft tripe doesn’t deserve a title at this point. Well,
maybe not a TOTAL pile of first draft tripe. It felt that way while I was writing it, trust me. However, I worked hard to remember that that’s the way first drafts are supposed to be. First drafts really are the “down draft”, as Anne Lamott writes in her wonderful “Bird by Bird”.
Now it’s all about fixing it up.
In the above photo, what I’m doing is attaching a cover sheet to each chapter with a synopsis and character list on it. The characters are also color-coded. Yes, maybe OCD, but I’ll leave that up to you to decide. Once I’ve done this step, I then do this:
I lay it all out on the floor of my office. I did this same process with the second Mallen book, CRITICAL DAMAGE (coming out April 8, 2014, btw), and it worked amazingly well. Now I can see where characters pop in and out, or where maybe they disappear completely. I can tell where I have a LOT of action, or maybe not enough. This book really gave me SO much trouble, it was insane. Drove me to drink, hahaha. I would rather have had brain surgery with just a fork and knife. As an example of how the above method helps, I found out I’d given an article very important to the story to one character only to have that article appear again later on in the hands of someone completely different. And yes, when I write first drafts I NEVER look back. Never. A side effect of working this way are that things like characters popping-in or dropping-out happen.
I’ve probably said this before (last time, when I was editing CRITICAL DAMAGE), however, go ahead and give this method a whirl the next time you’ve finished a first draft and are beginning the edit phase.
So there’s that.
What else? Oh yeah… I get the galleys for CRITICAL DAMAGE in December, and the publicity attack begins in earnest about that same time. So yes, my hands will be full for awhile. But this is the job, and I love it to death (which is good as it may just be the death of me).
Off to edit now! See ya!