Revise Second Draft


UnBlinded: Revising the Second Draft

419 Specific Comments

I’ve just gotten back two critiques on the second draft of my WIP novel. 419 specific comments. I’m excited.

  • Larger concerns. Each critique was accompanied by a letter with larger concerns. Both are still concerned that the characterization needs work. One would like a stronger opening and one thinks a subplot is off-kilter. Those will get my attention first and foremost in this revision. But after two drafts, this third draft needs attention to the finer details.

  • Specific comments. One critiquer was kind enough to say my sentences were beautifully written. But she still had hundreds of specific comments:
    • Characters weren’t believable in what they said or did.
    • Motivations were unclear.
    • Motivations were clear, but a bit more detail would help make it even clearer.
    • Awkward wording.
    • Actions needed clarification.
    • Continuity questions – if this happened on p. 12, then why this on p. 23?
    • Minor spelling and grammar typos (of course, not errors! Just typos!)
    • Suggested deletions.
    • Suggested rewordings.
    • Character questions to me, the author. Does this character really care about this?
    • Asking for more reaction from a character.
    • Needs better grounding in the scene – where are we? On foot? In a car?
    • Questions of logic.

Different from an Editor’s Revision Letter

One friend reminded me that this is SO different from an editor’s letter requesting revision.

  • Argue. For one thing, I am free to argue with, question, or ignore the critique’s specific suggestions. She’s great at letting me argue, until she says something a different way and the light breaks through my thick skull. I know it’s common for critiques to be set up NOT to allow arguing, but I need it. Simply telling me what’s wrong doesn’t help; I need to understand WHY it’s wrong, weak, ineffective.
  • Over the Hump. The second way it’s different is that this critique is designed to get me over the rejection-hump into editorial territory. An editor would reject the story if I sent in this second draft. I knew that, or I wouldn’t have sent it for a critique. Hopefully, this third draft will be a cleaner, sweeter, story, ready for an editor’s 419 specific comments!

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