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Reading Through the First Draft of Your Novel

Rachel Saylor

Ever heard of a positivity sandwich? It's where you give a positive piece of feedback, then a piece of constructive criticism and then back to a positive piece at the end. Cling to this idea as you read your novel for the first time. Most likely, your critique you give yourself will be overstuffed with items. The sandwich may be so big, you cannot even fit it in our mouth, but don't forget those pieces of positivity bread end caps. You'll need those to keep motivated so that you can, in fact, make this story good, even though you've got a lot of work to do on it. 

After reading through Jasper's Mountain all the way to the end, I had a doc full of notes for myself. There are holes in the story. Certain details don't line up or make sense. Some parts are not believable. The list goes on... However, there is a structure I can work with that I believe is good. There are some gold nugget portions in the story. I really like how I tied a theme in with the verbiage I used later on in the story. 

Once you have finished reading through your story, with a wealth of notes by your side, you may feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Let those notes bounce around in your mind for a while, both consciously and subconsciously, letting your brain work out how to fill those holes in your story.

At this time, you should also find someone you trust, and that you know can do a good job of critically reading your piece and giving you great feedback.  

Go back frequently to those notes you wrote for yourself and think about what you can do to the story to make it stronger. During this time, it is important to get real with yourself. Don't hold back any critical thoughts you have while reading your story. You want your story to be great, right? Well, you're going to have to work your ass off to make it happen.

Next week, I will be talking about reading through the feedback you've received from the first person you chose to edit your piece.