My first drafts usually come in anywhere between 85,000 and 100,000 words. The first draft of TAUNTING THE DEAD came in at 98,000 and I knew there were a lot of holes to go back and fill in. But before that comes the first read. A favourite part of mine, not least because of the first draft howlers that I find. This is where I change it from a first draft into a book. This is where I take all those original thoughts and twist them further and further. This could be done by adding words or, just as easily, removing words. I never fully delete. I have a scrap file. I also come up with approximately thirty per cent of additional ideas to add and then of course there is all the description.

At this stage of the draft I manage to edit about twenty pages a day. That’s working all day, from nine until tea time. There is always more detail needed at the beginning as I add the character’s descriptions and also a sense of place. This was the first book I’ve set in my home town and I’m really enjoying this part of it. Maybe this will make my book authentic? Who knows.

So onto my first draft howlers:

If you’d slapped Allie hard across the cheek with a wet fish, she wouldn’t have been more shocked.

Then a thought passed through her head and out of her feet, freezing every atom of her body in its path.

I’ll go over this morning, see if he needs a hang with anything.

I’ll run thing smoothly this end until you decide to grace your face with my presence again.

She stood in the glow of the street lamp, framed in a white glow that made her look as though she wasn’t there, shouldn’t have been there.

The word liability hung in the air. A liability could mean that Mikey could have him shot and buried over on the loopline. A liability could mean he’d cut off his tongue before drowning him in the canal. A liability could mean…

Kirstie placed a hand on high thigh but Lee slapped it away.

‘What are you insinuating?’ ‘I’m not insulation anything.’

Terry glared at her. For once, those dark eyes had lost their sparkle. They had been replaced by nightly shades of dark. Pissed off eyes. Dangerous eyes. Eyes that she couldn’t look at without fear shooting through her body and right out through her toes.

She threw herself at him, wrapping her arms around his waste.

First draft howlers

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