Okay, so you’ve written the first draft. You’re ready to go back and find your starting place. Don’t get discouraged if you restart your manuscript several times. Questionable Ethics, the first in the Mel Addison Mystery Series, had seven beginnings before I finally settled on the one that it has. They all started in the same scene, just differently.
First, it wasn’t a good hook. Two or three drafts later, I had a good beginning hook but had to work on the first line. That was another two drafts. Finally I narrowed it down to the one that ended up the as the finished product. I thought I would never be satisfied with it. Then it happened. It was good.
Most beginning writers go through this process, so don’t let it get you down. Even now after I’ve been writing for this long, I still rewrite the beginnings several times. I’ve generally can get it to just two or three drafts now. The latest in the series, the beginning was spot on, I just needed to work on the first sentence hook.
Here is what separates the hobbyist writers from the professional writers. Hobbyist writers are willing to get it mostly right, but since they aren’t really trying to get published they’re willing to stop at okay. And there is nothing wrong with that. However, if you are wanting to get published, you must be patient with the process and continue working until you know, I mean really know, that it’s the best it can be. Sometimes that means letting your agent/editor tell you it’s ready. And that’s okay too.
It is still a process. A craft. A work in progress. And we are only talking about the first draft and the beginning. There is still the rest of the manuscript to come.
Angela Abderhalden the author of the Mel Addison Mystery Series and an Acquiring Editor for Seventh Wave Books, LLC