As you right your first draft you may fumble through it, but when you revise/rewrite your work:
1. Do you have a play-by-play method for revising/polishing your work in order to reach the goal line?
2. Or, do instincts kick in and tell you when you have made a touchdown? In other words, how do you know when it's just right?
It’s Football Season? Already?
I guess you can tell I’m not a big football fan. But, I’ll give it my best shot in using some football jargon to describe how I complete my mysteries.
In writing my first draft, I can’t say I ever really fumble. As soon as I get my first sentence, I’m off and running. It’s just me and the plot, with my characters running along side. We’re having such fun; it looks as though we’ll take it all the way to the goal line. I see the words “The End” flash on the scoreboard. I’m sprinting like there’s no tomorrow. Then somewhere near the eighty-yard line, I’m I struck from behind. I hit the cold, hard ground; stunned; shocked; not sure of where I am. My characters stand around, shouting for me to get up, but I can’t. I simply stare at the scoreboard; the clock ticks away—seconds, minutes, hours, days—until I realize I have to start over and plan my strategy. I call time out, go back to page one, and start taking notes. I look for characters who shouldn’t be there, loose ends that need tying, plot points that need to be delete or expanded. And when I think I have it all figured out, my protagonist hikes me the ball. During those final twenty yards, I’m usually tackled several more times. Each time, it’s easier to get up and start over. When I’ve checked everything off my fix-it list, I stop on the ninety-nine yard line and turn around. The tacklers are gone; my characters are smiling; I step over the goal line and do a victory dance. And if that event happens during September, as it did with my latest mystery, I treat myself by watching (don’t hate me) as much baseball as possible.
Kathleen Kaska writes the Sydney Lockhart Mystery series and the Classic Triviography Mystery Series published by LL-Publications. Her Sherlock Holmes and Alfred Hitchcock trivia books were finalists for the 2013 EPIC Award in nonfiction. Her nonfiction book, The Man Who Saved the Whooping Crane: The Robert Porter Allen Story, has been nominated for the George Perkins Marsh Award for environmental history.
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