Cleaning Up a Monster

I completed the second novel in the Femitokon series, Holodomor, during NaNoWriMo of 2013.  First drafts are the easy part, and yes, you can conceivable write a novel in 30 DAYS, so long as you know that no first draft is ever ready for prime time.

NaNoWriMo

As you can see from the image above, I wrote the first novel in the Femitokon series, titled Suffocation, during NaNoWriMo 2011—it’s now 2015, and Suffocation is nearing its creative end, undergoing final revisions with a paid editor, before I can schlep it to an agent.

In between edits on Suffocation, I decided to pull out the first draft of Holodomor, and give it a once over, with the series-bible open, to clear up any plot inconsistencies.

Editing with Bible

As I read it, I noticed there were chapters that somehow ended up in the wrong place. It was time to create some post-draft chapter cards. Unlike those scene cards some writers make before beginning a novel (oh yes, I make scene cards!), post-draft chapter cards are editorial, instead of creative. Explain each chapter in brief, as if telling it to someone new. Doing this lets you establish what each chapter needs to do in your story. You can then lay them out on your computer screen (or print them on cards and tack to a display board). This does help me figure out what chapter goes where.

Chapter Cards

Some chapters, poorly placed, cut into scenes that must remain joined to build up and finalize the closing action. Holodomor was a chaotic mess. My chapters were solid, but they needed better placement to tell the best story.  Oh, and save a card for notes at the end, to remind you of your stories goals.

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