Rereading My First Novel

As you may recall, I participated in NaNoWriMo last November, and finished the draft of my first novel back in February.  In May, I decided to start revisions.  That was the start of my trouble.  You see, before I could revise anything, I had to reread it.  And that was a painful, painful experience.

It’s not that I expected it to be well-written or anything, given how fast I had to churn it out.  But it is truly, utterly dismal.  I expect I’ll have to do a total blank-screen rewrite, rather than just touch-ups.  Which means its going to take a lot longer than I’d hoped.

It doesn’t really have a viewpoint character.  It makes a lot of use of the passive voice (likely a carry-over from my scientific writing).  There are structural problems.  It has unnecessary characters, it introduces the villains too late, it doesn’t make the villains sympathetic, it takes far to long to get going, and it doesn’t really show much in the way of character development.

It’s almost enough that I’d want to just trunk it and move on to something new, but… I see some rays of hope in there.  Some potential.  I like the story.  And while there isn’t much character development currently on the page, it’s in my head.  So I want to try and actually finish a draft that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to show to other people.  Something that might eventually approach publishable (even if I’m not sure there’s a market for it).

My next step in revising will be to do a scene-by-scene outline, identifying all the scenes that I’m keeping and their purpose in the novel, and developing new ones to patch up the flaws I’ve found.  If I can do that during September, I think that will be some good progress, and I can dedicate October to outlining a new novel for the next NaNoWriMo in November.

At least, so long as I get some of my own research done, first.  Sigh.