There are many ways to approach manuscript editing, each with its own particular process, and nearly every editor and writing advice site has their or its own method. This post will describe the most common types, explain what they’re for, and provide questions you can ask yourself to ensure that you’re approaching this stage in the best way possible.
Bear in mind that this is my preferred order to do these kinds of editing, but feel free to do whatever works for you.
This is a story about Mary, number one fan of the hottest cult vampire detective TV show, City By Night… until it becomes all too real. An accident with the Craft Services truck sends her hurtling into the world of the show, and Mary is thrilled – who wouldn’t want to live alongside their favorite TV characters?
Unfortunately, living in TV-land isn’t all that Mary thought it would be. Not only is Mary disillusioned with what she thought was a lush world until she had to try to maneuver in it, now she’s about to be murdered by one of the stupidest clichés in the history of television in a world that, pardon the pun, totally sucks.
A loving satire of the Toronto film industry, vampire-cop television, and what it really means to be a “fan”.
Draft one of a manuscript is for you. In this draft, you get to tell your story to yourself. You can write as much as you want, go off on tangents or side quests, or infodump and worldbuild to your heart’s content.
Draft two is for your readers. Draft two is where you rework the story you told yourself to ensure that you transmit it to the readers in a way that is entertaining, enjoyable, and understandable. That’s not to say it has to be basic or simplistic—but it must be comprehensible.
As Neil Gaiman is fond of saying: In draft one, write down everything that happens. In draft two, go back and make it look like you knew what you were doing all along.
In my continued quest to republish my backlist for my erotica works as Peggy Barnett, I’ve begun to serialize DEAR ABBY on Radish. I’m shocked and delighted that my readership is growing on this reading app, and am amazed by how much everyone seems to like my weird early-career spice.
You keep being awesome, you thirsty Radish Readers!
About the novella:
Abigail writes hokey travel advice articles that promote her company’s package tours. She gets to experience tons of resorts every year, but there’s only so much a girl can stand. So when a beautiful woman begins to pay Abby more than the standard amount of attention, Abby takes notice. After all, a nice vacation affair is just what she might need to liven up her trip. But then things start to get weird. A creepy black mark has appeared on Abby’s palm, Abby’s new lover is growing unusually possessive, and Abby… Abby can’t seem to be able to have sex enough. Abby’s lover is named after a goddess, but she couldn’t really be one… could she?
As you’re developing your secondary plot, you’ll need to start thinking about who is going to carry it. Some subplots continue to feature, or may be told from, the POV of your main character. Other subplots may focus instead on a minor or secondary character, who guides the reader through this second storyline.
It’s tempting to spend all of your energy on developing a really rich main character while going light on secondary characters, but you should consider putting as much initial thought into your main character’s friends, family members, and enemies as you do with them.
(Besides, we all know that really great side-characters are everyone’s favorite in novels, anyway. Sure, we like Frodo Baggins, but Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, Sam, Merry, or Pippin are the ones people name when you ask them who their fave is.)