#1 Question to Ask Yourself After A First Draft

You’ve completed a first draft, you look at the mound of papers on your desk, and wonder what next.

How do you look at your draft with new eyes. There is a lot of advice about putting your novel in a drawer for a few weeks before looking at it again, sending it to others for a beta read, reading it aloud etc.

But what if you want to do something more practical and immediate?

For each scene ask yourself: WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS SCENE?

Try not to answer in a generic way.

An easy answer is: Moves the story forward.

To me, that’s too general. How does the scene move the story forward? Be as specific as you can.

Ask yourself: Does the scene

  1. have an important revelation, clue or red herring?
  2. develop a character? To me this means, does the reader learn something new about a character that is important to a story?
  3. introduce a new character?
  4. show character motivation?
  5. give the reader a break after a high action scene?
  6. give the reader action after a break scene (sometimes called a sequel scene)?
  7. foreshadow, give backstory or contain an important flashback?
  8. develop setting that is important to the story and not just setting for the sake of describing something?
  9. close off loose ends?
  10. solve the crime?

If you can’t articulate the point of  a scene, think about removing the scene.

If the point of the scene is weak, see if you can take what is important in a scene and move it to another scene. Then delete the weak scene.

I use a spreadsheet to keep track of each scene. One column is dedicated to the point of the scene. If a cell remains empty when I’ve reviewed the entire novel then the scene must go.

Please share any tips you can add in the comments below.

I used this technique while writing DESCENT, BLAZE and AVALANCHE.

Thanks for reading…

If you’re interested, you can buy or download a sample of DESCENT at:  myBook.to/Descent

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8 thoughts on “#1 Question to Ask Yourself After A First Draft

  1. I doubt spell check would catch this…
    How do you look at your draft with new eyes. There is a lot of advice about putting your novel in a drawer for a weeks before looking at it again,

    “for a weeks” should either be “for weeks” or “for a week”

    Please feel free to not post comments.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I am only half way through my first draught sohave a way go yet but it’s very helpful to know what my next step will be once I have finished my first draught……I have been tempted so many times to cut before I have finished and have been advised against it..good advice I think 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If you do cut, keep the scene. I store all my deleted scenes in case I change my mind. I’ve even used a cut scene in a different novel. Just give the scene a meaningful title so you remember what it’s about.

          Like

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