If you over mix or fail to knead the dough correctly or you rush the proofing, your bread will fail. You’ll have large air holes instead of even dough. The loaf will be too hard, too dense, too chewy. Or it may not bake all the way through and come out gummy. But if you’ve executed the steps well, your end result will smell and taste like a piece of heaven.
Your story is like a loaf of bread. It requires a firm but gentle hand to coax the elements to come together properly. If you rush, your characters won’t have time to develop, your plot will hang, the emotions won’t shine through.
I finished the first draft of my sequel about a month ago and I was ecstatic. Finally! After years of fretting and struggling and at least seven different starts, I was done! I couldn’t wait to send it off to friends to read. I just needed to check some facts on the last section, but that wouldn’t take long. It should be ready in a month or so, I told them. It took several weeks to check my facts and I discovered some major plotting errors. And while I was waiting on that information, other things came to mind. I could really strengthen some of my characters’ GMC. There were places that needed more scenery. And there was a good reason some of the end part felt weak; I could use at least one more scene (probably more) to help the heroine resolve her dilemma.
I was rushing.
Whenever clients ask about editing, I always, always tell them I don’t want your first draft. I want your best draft. That means when you finish your first draft, set it aside for a bit (a month or so), then go back over it with an eagle eye and a fine-tooth comb. You’ll find places that don’t make sense, places that need to be condensed or deleted, places that need to be expanded. Examine your world building, your character development, your story line. Have you set the scene visually with the six senses? Can the reader see, smell, hear, taste, touch, and feel? Are your characters stereotypes or deep with emotion? Have they met their goals? Have they faced their fears? Make sure everything works together. Lastly, check for grammar issues, spelling, and punctuation. Then you’ll be ready to have your beta readers dive in.