When I mentioned to a colleague at the current day-job (yes, I’m afraid I still need one of those to get by) that I’d finished the first draft of my current novel he asked whether the next stage was to send it to my editor. Well, no.
Getting the first draft down is, for me, the longest and hardest part of the process, but in some ways it’s just the start. Next, I need to run what I’ve done past Tripod, my long-suffering and occasionally sarcastic writing group. They’ve been getting chunks of Bringer of Light to critique since January; they’ll get the last quarter of the book this week, so they can critique it in time for our next meeting, in mid September.
Before Tripod see the first draft I do a quick read-through of the raw text and try to spot and fix any messy writing, minor inconsistencies or obvious typos – they’re particularly good at spotting amusing typos. This is also my first ‘out loud’ read-through; the more chances I get to read the prose out, and to tinker as a result, the better the final result will be.
In an ideal world I’d wait until I’d received and digested my critters’ feedback before I moved on to the next stage; sadly, the tight schedule I’m now on won’t permit me that luxury.