Facing Your Dreaded Second Draft (part 1 of 2)

Many novelists, who have had no success finding an agent or publisher in a dozen or more tries, turn to a “book doctor” like me and say, “What’s wrong with my book?”

Often the answer is simple. They’ve not yet learned that “all writing is rewriting.” They’ve written a novel, but they have not rewritten one.

To make your manuscript shine:

1. Get outside perspectives

You know what your novel is supposed to say. To confirm it actually says that, find someone in your writers group to give you feedback on its:

● narrative drive

● character development

● setting

● dialogue

● theme

Consider hiring a high school or college English teacher to copyedit the pages, highlighting concerns with:

● grammar

● syntax

● punctuation

● format

● spelling

● transitions

2. Evaluate from macro to micro elements

Read your entire novel — charting it as you go. Make note of:

● How quickly the lead hooks the reader

● If the subplot becomes evident no later than chapter three

● The arcs of conflict, the surprises, the plot twists

● Whether the climactic scene is sufficiently dramatic

Finally, does the denouement:

● tie up all loose ends

● answer all questions

● imply the next phase of the characters’ lives

By putting the whole book in your head (macro) while critiquing the individual elements (micro), you can insert the correct pieces that will eventually reveal the finished puzzle.

Dennis E. Hensley is the co-author with Holly G. Miller of the Leslie Holden novels for Harvest House Publishers: He directs the Department of Professional Writing at Taylor University in Upland, Indiana.

© Copyright Dennis E. Hensley. (Do not use this article in any form without written permission.)

About CWG

For more than forty years, the Christian Writers Guild has trained people to write for publication.

Explore www.ChristianWritersGuild.com to learn more about our:

● writing courses

● critique service

● webinars

● Writing for the Soul conference

● Operation First Novel contest for unpublished writers

Also, discover the possibility of placing your book into print through Christian Writers Guild Publishing — a unique service that combines:

● quality education

● mentored guidance

● professional production

Finish the course — and we’ll publish your book.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *