You wrote a first draft. Yeah. Go you. So now what? The thing is there are many methods to what to do next, you have to find what works for you. I'm pretty much a panster. I do write the main story line on note cards to see where I want it to go, but otherwise, I write what the characters tell me. So, first drafts are torture for me. It's like an emotional roller coaster. I like all the new characters, but I don't like the jumbled mess it turns out to be.
I've discovered that once I finish that first draft, I need to let it sit. No matter how much my brain claws the back of my eyeballs to open it again, I try to wait a week at minimum. This time, I'm going to try and wait longer. Yes, it's killing me. The reason is to let those excited brain cells take a break from it. You see, the brain is still on it's perky wave that makes you think it's the best novel out there. Trust me, mine is not. I've checked, and my first draft needs loads of work, but that's okay. The skeleton is there.
So after you wait what do you start with? There are some methods out there that state to go through it with one thing in mind. In other words, each time you go through focus on one thing--character, plot, details, etc.
I plan to do this.
-First, I print it out and look at all the notes I made in the margins of what needs attention. I make notes in the margins at certain points while writing the first draft of where I want to check something or I know something needs more detail or research.
-Second, the plot. I'm going to go through and take a look at the plot line. Does it make sense? Does it flow?
-Third, character. This is a whole range. Are the characters consistent? Does my main character have an arc?
-Fourth, voice. Is the voice consistent? Does it match the character(s)?
-Fifth, line edits. Complete yuck, but yes, you must comb through and make sure that grammar is tip top.
Sometimes one of the steps is repeated and I may have forgotten one or two that may creep up when I go through it or after betas have read it. Another thing to think about while you're waiting for your first draft to stew is to write the query or a synopsis. It does help when you go through it. For me, it keeps me focused on the big picture.
What tips do you have when you approach revisions?
Have a great day!