Tuesday, January 22, 2013


And, no, I’m not talking about football or basketball passes, or illustrious, elevated mountain passes.  I’m talking about manuscript passes.  As every writer learns at some point (at least most writers), you can’t possibly get everything down in the first draft, or second, or third.   It takes multiple passes through a manuscript for it to start to really come into shape. 

For example, once you have a first draft, it’s a good idea to make a pass through the manuscript to ensure that character and setting placement are in order.  Another good pass would be to ensure that the characters’ emotions are showing on the page and that they’re responding physically to that emotion in a way that’s logical.  The final pass is usually the polishing pass, in which you remove all extraneous words and “ing” words and those pesky adverbs (at least those that have hung out undeservedly for a while).  Of course, depending on the project, you could have many more passes.  But I think passes are great, and I think one “golden rule” should always be kept in mind when making one.  When making a pass, my advice would be to focus only on that one aspect throughout its entirety.  If you’re making a pass to ensure all your world-building elements are in order, don’t get sidetracked by a paragraph that could use some trimming/tightening.  Save that for the next pass, that way you don’t miss or overlook something pertaining to world-building that needs to be changed in your world-building pass.
At the moment I’m working on UNGIFTED, and I think I’m going to make another pass, if not a couple more, through the manuscript.  I’ve done some work in getting deeper into my protag’s head and portraying how he views the world, but I want to get closer, and I want to make sure he’s using terminology that a twelve-year-old boy would use.  I also want to make sure that the world-building details I drop in sound like something he’d actually think about in each part of the story.  Like I said, I’ve make some progress in these areas in general, but I think a couple more passes couldn’t hurt…


Anita said...

For me, there's always a temptatition to rush through this phase...that's bitten me in the butt. I hope you're smarter than me. :)

Chris V said...

Lol, I know that feeling, Anita!