First draft finished; now the work begins

I completed the first draft of my novel, Sins of Omission, two days ago — 74,000 words across sixteen chapters. Now the real work begins.

As many a teacher will tell you (less politely), the first draft is drek. My first four pages already look as though a chicken stepped across it after wading in blood. That’s okay. It’s what’s supposed to happen.

There are numerous tools available to help find the soft spots in your writing. My first choice would have been Grammarly, but the desktop version is not available on the Mac. I opted for ProWritingAid, which has the advantage of being accessible from Scrivener.

A second, less expensive tool is Hemingway Editor, which you can see in action just by clicking on the link.. It highlights various writing problems — hard to read sentences, passive sentences, adverbs, and others — with color coding so that you can easily spot them.

ProWritingAid identified several issues in my first chapter, but even after I’d addressed them, Hemingway Editor found more. This two-pass approach appears to be working well and will, I hope, allow my human editor to focus on global issues, rather than getting lost in the weeds.

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