A Finished First Draft, So What’s Next?

I finished the first draft of a complete rewrite of a previously dropped book. What does that mean?

Image by Antonios Ntoumas from Pixabay

It means the manuscript that used to exist is now going to the moldy drawer in which it belongs and a new, improved, completely different southern cozy mystery MIGHT be ready for your reading consumption before year’s end! What? Yes, the manuscript that I’ve been working on and saying, “should be another month before it’s done” just took the better part of a year.

(Old Cover. New Story.)

And it ain’t over yet. What does a first draft consist of? All of the basic plot points, the words, the dialogue, for a somewhat interesting, occasionally snooze-worthy bit of writing. So now it’s time to get back into it while wearing my witch’s hat perched on my brow, a muse curled up in the window, and some fresh eyes. I’ll probably take a day this weekend to read something off-genre, so I can hit it again next week with fresh-ish eyes.

So here’s the “to-do” list for a complete second draft:

  1. Check general grammar and spelling.
  2. Check off all of the clues, when they’re dropped, and who dropped them.
  3. Get into the head of each character, making note of what they know up to that point, who they are, and the lens through which they see the world.
  4. Drop some “foreshadowed” bits after-the-fact. (That’s the magical bit.)
  5. Write the epilogue/grace note.

And then, the really tough work begins – writing the book blurb, deciding on the new direction of the book covers for this whole series, making a marketing plan, and a book trailer, swag art, and maybe a couple of audio excerpts.

But for now, I’m going to give the studio a much needed deep clean. Ahhh. We both (me and the studio) give a sigh of relief.

Make some art. Read a book!