Novel in Progress: Week 7

This week I finally printed out the first nine chapters that I had “finished” revising and… well, I realized that they were far from being finished. That’s why I enclosed the word in quotation marks.

I know that a text on the computer screen looks different from its printout. It may sound strange, but it does. Maybe because your eyes get so used to seeing what you’ve written only in this version—on the screen—that they’re just not capable of discerning all of the flaws. I know it from other authors’ experiences, as well as from my own, with three published books under my belt.

Bottom line is, you have to print out what you’ve written and read it with “fresh” eyes, or with the eyes of your potential reader. But I kept postponing it, thinking, I’ll just tweak here and there, make it better, and then I’ll run it through the printer. When I did, a few problems (inconsistencies in the plot and characters, and such) screamed at me: How could you have missed us? You’ve read these chapters a hundred times! Well…

I created a new file on my computer and jotted the problems down—all six of them. I thought I’d get back to them after I finished this draft, because it would be so time-consuming to fix them now; I’d rather move forward, and blah, blah, blah…

It was, of course, a stupid idea. Why would I keep dragging those inconsistencies with me, letting them grow bigger and bigger, like snowballs? Not to mention some new problems being created, overlooked, and postponed along the way. Nah! I’ve got to fix them now!

And that’s what I did. And I’ve learned my lesson: Don’t move on to another chapter until you print this one and read it out loud—many times.

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